In the world but not of the world

Source: FSSPX News

During his trip to Germany, Benedict XVI invited Catholics who are involved in the Church and in society to combat the worldly spirit that causes the Church to “settle down in this world” and to “adapt herself to the world’s standards”. 

It is true that the pope was aiming these remarks at an excess of structural rigidity that is characteristic of German dioceses.  Yet, independently of these particular circumstances, one can see in his invitation an involuntary questioning of the openness to the world extolled by Vatican II.  For the worldly spirit is not just adaptation to the contemporary world’s criteria of technological efficiency.  It is above all a spirit dominated by the threefold concupiscence (cf. 1 John 2:16), as all the apostles, all the Fathers of the Church, and all the saints teach, following Jesus Christ.

Hence the question that arises is the following:  was the Church able to open herself to the world, as she intended to do at the Council, without opening herself to its spirit, without adapting to it a little, without adopting it in a certain way?  One simple example:  in adopting secular dress, wouldn’t the clergy run the risk of adapting to secular habits, even the most deplorable ones sometimes?

It is convenient to blame the secularization of society for the scarcity of vocations and the precipitous decline in religious practice….  It would be more effective to give serious thought to that spirit of the world that entered the Church when she decided to open herself to the world’s preoccupations.

Fr. Alain Lorans

You can also read :

Special dossier: The third pastoral journey of Benedict XVI to Germany (September 22-25, 2011)

Commentary on the third pastoral journey of Benedict XVI to Germany