Friday, October 13, 2006

A Church of the People or a Church of the Elite? Verona’s Dilemma

The transmission of the faith and attention to its “quality” are at the center of a major conference of Italian Catholics. The key point will be an address from the pope. The controversy over “Christian distinctiveness”
by Sandro Magister

What takes place in Verona will determine the direction of the Italian Church in the coming years, but it will also have an effect on the worldwide Church, thanks to Italy’s link with the see of Peter.

Both the title of the meeting – “Witnesses of the Risen Jesus, the hope of the world” – and one of the five topics for discussion have at the center “tradition”: the proclamation, the transmission of the Christian faith to the generations of today and tomorrow.

But, naturally, there is not unanimous agreement in the Italian Church over what to do about “tradition.”

The dominant approach – personified by Benedict XVI, by his predecessor John Paul II, and by their cardinal vicar Camillo Ruini, for many years the leading figure in the bishops’ conference – is opposed by an approach whose leader is cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a Jesuit and the former archbishop of Milan, now in retirement in Jerusalem but not out of the spotlight.

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