Christ is all and in all

Russell Shaw’s recent column (“Catholics Not Claiming to Be Better Than Others,” CR Aug. 2) was one of the best efforts I have seen so far in trying to explain the supposed true motives of Pope Benedict’s recent attempt to drive home the point that the Catholic Church is special in the eyes of God. But while he assiduously tries to avoid giving the impression that Catholics believe they are better than everyone else he fails to ameliorate the effects of what I like to call the “ in your face” approach to explaining Catholic doctrine to those outside the faith.
Since the pope’s assertions, many well-meaning scholars and theologians like Shaw have valiantly and sincerely tried to make the case that those who take umbrage with the pontiffs views on the primacy of the faith, simply misunderstand what the Pope is saying. However as Catholics we should be concerned not only with what we know to be the truth but also with the perception that others have of our attitudes toward them when we attempt to explain those truths.
In short, as benign as some say the pope’s comments were, many non-Catholics who were predisposed to understanding the Church’s place in the Cosmos, will now view Catholics in the same vein as the pharisee who stood in front of the synagogue proclaiming his superiority in the eyes of God. Rather than declaring from the rooftops that we are “The one true church” we would do well to remember the words of Paul, “There is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” The essence of our faith is not seeking to feel superior but in remembering that the “First shall be last and the last shall be first.”

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.