What Francis Said Next: The Priority of the Kerygma

Well, he’s at it again, and everyone’s talking about it. Last night after our Anima Education class in Ballarat, one student came up to me to express her distress over an article she had read from the New York Times which reported that Pope Francis had said we mustn’t talk about abortion, homosexuality, divorce or same sex marriage any more. 

I had heard on Vatican Radio that the Holy Father had been giving interviews again, so I thought, hullo, what’s the old boy said now? However, it is very easy, via the old game of Chinese Whispers (especially where media reports are one of the intermediate whispers) to put the wrong twist on things, so after retiring to my room I went to source. Thankfully, my friend Andrew Rabel had already emailed me the link to the full interview in the Jesuit’s America Magazine, so I didn’t have to search very far.

It is a very LONG interview, and written up with comments and descriptions on the side. As far as I can see, the NYT didn’t misquote the Pope on anything he said, but given the length of the interview, it is possible that by quoting just snippets (which is all the America Magazine will allow – they state categorically that the interview is copyright to them – I don’t know what that will mean for future collectors of the Pope’s magisterium!) to get a slightly wrong impression.

I can heartily recommend the reading of it all today, on the Feast of St Matthew, as the Holy Father makes a particular point of the reason he chose his papal motto “Miserando atque Eligendo“. Apparently he was inpsired by the painting of the calling of St Matthew by Carravagio. (The origin of the papal motto is, of course, the commentary of St Bede, but I have just come back from mass, and note that the collect for today also highlights the mercy of Jesus in choosing St Matthew).

By now, we all know that “mercy” is a central theme in this pontificate. The pope wants us absolutely to get what Jesus meant when he said in today’s Gospel “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”. To paraphrase Francis himself “I want the Church to show mercy, not to talk about all these hotbutton issues all the time”. In the case of both Jesus and Pope Francis, commentators would get them completely wrong if thjey reported “Jesus says no more sacrifices” or “Pope says sin no longer the concern of the Church”. It is rather that the fundamental message, the message that has priority over all else, is the Mercy of God. Be merciful, and offer your sacrifices. Be merciful, and uphold the moral teaching of the Church. But above all, always, first: Be merciful. Why? Because your Heavenly Father is merciful, and its what he wants you to be.

That’s basically what Francis says in the interview. But let’s look at the interview itself. The section relevant to the dear lady’s distress, is that headed “The Church as Field Hospital”. Now there has always been a saying that the Church is a “Hospital for Sinners, not a Country Club for Saints”, and perhaps that is what the Pope was thinking about. He says:

I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. And you have to start from the ground up.

What a vivid image. I could imagine myself as that person – perhaps hit by a car while crossing the street – finding myself in hospital where the doctor declares that they are not going to treat me becausee I am a smoker, and the hospital policy is anti-smoking.  

Anyway, the Pope goes on to say that “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.” I believe here that he is talking about what I am going to call “the priority of the kerygma” in the life of the Church. Let me suggest this: The Catholic Church has realised very well the centrality of the Eucharist in its life – since Vatican II we have learned to know the Eucharist as the “source and summit” of the Church. Yet it is equally true for us to grasp that the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery – what the New Testament and Biblical Scholars call “the kerygma” is the heart of the Church’s message. We will not get very far with the “New Evangelisation” or the “Evangelisation of Culture” without it.

What is that kerygma exactly then? St Luke’s version of St Peter’s Pentecost sermon in Acts 2 gets the nuts and bolts clear:

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know-23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. …32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. …36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ.

The Kerygma is at the heart of the Gospel. In fact, in so far as the Gospel is the announcement of the drawing near of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15), the Kerygma is the Gospel. If we do not preach it, we do not preach the Gospel. Or, as Pope Francis puts it:

A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing… The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ

Curiously, this was the message of Archbishop Porteous in a very recent podcast of Q&A with Archbishop Porteous “What is the Core Message of Christianity?”. There he comments that if you asked most Catholics what the “core message” of the Church is, they would probably answer “Believe in God and try to lead a good life”. That’s important, he said, but it isn’t our core message. Our core message is the apostolic Kerygma: that Jesus died, rose again, and now lives as our Lord and Saviour. Of course, that raises the question “What does he save us from?”, which is a terrifically good question. The obvious answer is “sin”, and I must say I was a little disappointed that Archbishop Porteous went directly for the obvious answer, because it would be so good to explore what ways people today are actually feeling trapped, enslaved, exploited, hopeless etc. and how and in what way the Lordship and Saving Mission of Jesus answers those longings.

Nevertheless, the point is clear, both in Pope Francis’ interview and in Archbishop Porteous’ Q&A: the Church has to get back to the core message. It isn’t that we have failed to proclaim the Gospel, rather it is that we have created too much background noise that drowns out our “core message”. Nor is it that we abandon the fullness of the message of the Church – rather that make sure that it can be heard against the background of the “core message” of the saving mercy of God in Jesus Christ. 

I began writing this post this morning after morning mass. It is now evening and I am preparing to go out for dinner. But I wanted to add that I chose to digress during our sessions on “The Last Things” this morning in class to present this section of Pope Francis’ interview and to go through the issues with the class. It was a valuable experience. At morning tea, someone asked me, “What about the spiritual acts of mercy, such as admonishing the sinner? Don’t we still have to do that?” It was a good question, and given that there was a Compendium to the Catechism at hand, we looked up the list of Spiritual Acts of Mercy in the back of the book. Indeed “Admonish the sinner” is one of the spiritual acts of mercy (in other words, it is not necessarily merciful to fail to warn the sinner when they are heading into dangerous waters), but the very next spiritual act of mercy on the list is “comfort the afflicted”. That’s interesting, isn’t it, I said. How do we know, when some brash atheistic, secularist, church-hating sinner comes hurling accusations of homophobia at us, that we are not dealing with someone who has been deeply wounded and afflicted in some way (perhaps by the Church herself), and who doesn’t need our “merciful” admonition so much as our comfort and care?

We are back to the field hospital again, aren’t we? When I am hit by a car, I hope the doctors will deal with me mercifully even though I am a pipe smoking heretic. When I find someone who has been wounded in anyway, God help me to be a “comforter of the afflicted”, and to stay “on message” with the Kerygma.

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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31 Responses to What Francis Said Next: The Priority of the Kerygma

  1. Chris Burgwald says:

    Amen Amen, Schutz! I think the angst that some Catholics feel about Francis may be in part due to a reduction of Christianity to moralism, as you indicate here. As you say, we have to get back to the kergyma, not just at the pontifical “level” (as if it’s been neglected there) but at the parish & family level, and even diocesan level (working on it, right? :-).

    Hope you’re well! I was fortunate enough to get to have lunch and a terrific conversation with Tracey Rowland last week… some day you and I will have to do the same!

    • Schütz says:

      Dear Chris,

      So good to hear from you – and I am glad you caught up with “our Tracey”, as we refer to the good Doctor on this ‘ere blog. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying listening to your podcasts with Fr Andrew (for those who don’t know it, you will find the Ignition podcast here: http://www.sfcatholic.org/AdultFormation/Content.aspx?id=820&office=AdultFaithFormation).

      I think many Catholics (and for that matter the media) are struggling to understand Pope Francis, but once they can see where he is coming from they (at least, the Catholics, if not the media) will get on board for the ride. Interesting, having just finished teaching a course on Eschatology on a weekend visit to one of our regional cities, I am realising also how radical Pope Ratzinger was also – most of his teaching will take some time for the Church to absorb. For that matter, we are still busy absorbing the teaching of Pope John Paul II, who was also a new experience for the Church. The old wine skins are being stretched with so much new wine!

  2. Peregrinus says:

    As regards admonishing the sinner, there’s a fine line between a spiritual act of mercy on one hand, and an I-thank-the-Lord-that-I-am-not-as-other-men attitude on the other, but if I cross that line I’m definitely not engaged in a spiritual work of mercy. In fact I’m exploiting someone else’s sinfulness to bolster my own self-esteem and security, which is, um, not exactly a great witness to be giving, is it?

    It’s significant, I think, that when Jesus encounters obvious sinners, the fact that they are obvious sinners is rarely at the centre of the encounter between them, and whatever admonition is involved tends to come fairly late on in the discourse. I remember one commentator – I can’t recall who, off-hand – summarising the matter something like this: Jesus doesn’t demand of people that they should become better than they are until he has first of all built them up and shown them that they can be better than they are. So, the woman taken in adultery is told to “go, and do not sin again”, but not before Jesus has dealt with the bigger issue, which is the shaming, victimisation and condemnation that has inflicted upon her; his priority is to name and heal those wounds. Similarly, in the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, while the issue of her six husbands and uncounted boyfriends is flagged, Jesus never directly tells her that her situation is unacceptable, or that she needs to do something about it. He’s far more concerned with drawing her out and affirming her as a prophetic witness to the good news. The unspoken expectation, I think, is that when she grows in that way she will find both the wisdom to see that her sex life is chaotic (if she doesn’t already) and the strength to address the problem.

    It seems to me that, if you have to tell somebody that their situation is sinful, there’s probably no point in telling them that their situation is sinful. If they can’t already see that for themselves, their eyes are unlikely to be opened by your assertions. The fact is that, when we sin, we nearly always know that we are sinning, even as we do it. Having it pointed out doesn’t improve our knowledge or understanding, and does nothing to address the weakness that causes us to sin; it may well exacerbate it.

    You address people’s weakness by strengthening them; that’s as true for moral, mental and psychic health as it is for physical health. Shaming, denunciation and “admonition” in the conventional understanding of that word are rarely strengthening experiences. It seems to me the challenge for use is to find a mode of admonition which strengthens people and builds them up, when it’s much easier to find modes of admonition which denigrate them and tear them down.

    • Stephen K says:

      Dear Peregrinus,
      I want to say that you are saying something very important here. I hesitated to comment on this article because I AM a sinner. The kerygma is very challenging. Jesus is challenging. If Christianity is doing everything one reads in the Gospels I am not a Christian. I’m not convinced by what I see as a Hollywood-like version of events. If Christianity is however the desire to understand and live with God, then maybe I scrape in.

      But one thing I am convinced of is that the ability to love comes from only one place and source: namely, being loved, and feeling that you are loved for yourself. Until you have felt loved for your own corporeal and mental self you cannot know what love is. I am sure that the form in which the experience of being loved is felt varies from person to person, but some ways would be common. I won’t go into them here. But one cannot love unless one is loved. The Gospel is about saying God loves you. If we can somehow link the Gospel with love, then we can take the next step. It has nothing to do with being perfect or holy by formula.

      I will share with you and readers something, because your post has touched me deeply. Many years ago, as a Benedictine postulant, I first heard the lectures “the Heart of God” and “the Heart of Man” of Father John Powell SJ. No words can possibly express how profoundly they affected me. I have listened to them many times. I have cried, laughed, sighed and even hyperventilated with them. They introduced me to the concept of ‘unconditional love’. Father John Powell blew my mind away FOREVER. Last year, I discovered that he ended his life under more than a cloud, and I was deeply shocked. I had to work out what I was going to do about it all. You have to understand this. I have for over 35 years been responding to different persons’ needs by giving them, in their despair or sadness, copies of these lecture tapes. They have come back to me with the gleam of hope and strength in their eyes. It is palpable. I took a considerable time trying to work out how to regard his message.

      In the end, I decided, who am I to condemn anyone? It was and is the message of unconditional love (‘uc’). I need ‘uc’ like everyone. I think the Gospel tells me I have to give it. I think the only way to read the Gospel is to grapple with it oneself, never mind anyone else. I cannot, I must not, I dare not, tell anyone else what the Gospel means: I just have to live it.

      God! I’m a miserable failure! John Powell came into my life at a time I think was God’s time. If you want to know why I, who love the chant and worshipful religion, feel impelled to call traditionalists to what I think is a far greater vision of the Godhead and religion, then you have to put it down to this challenging idea: unconditional love. I am normally afraid to tell anyone what I feel, let alone who I think I am. Seriously, I think most traditionalists have missed the wood for the trees, and I say this having the credential of once being an insufferable traditionalist myself.

      I don’t want any reader to wound me more than I have already felt over John Powell. I understand individual people, personally involved, will have been deeply hurt. But I ask the peanut gallery not to berate me, or John Powell, over his life or his concepts. Never mind about philosophical filters, metaphysics or epistemology: Jesus is not concerned with either, nor was Gautama. It is something much more visceral than these things. Joshua in another post reminded us of the mystical dimension. Peregrinus, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head!

      I will conclude by saying (though it is more autobiographic than I believe would normally be appropriate) that both Marcel Lefebvre and John Powell were profound influences on me. Is it any wonder I feel warmer to the flawed Augustine than the elusive Aquinas?

      • Schütz says:

        Than you for sharing that with us Stephen. I value it. I think both you and Perry have offered quite a bit in these two comments. You will notice that the Holy Father began his interview by telling us who he is: “I am a sinner”, he said. We each need and desire the mercy of God. Long ago as a young Lutheran seminarian, I tried to get a handle on what “the Gospel” was. From a Lutheran point of view, I could think of nothing better than the words of absolution: I forgive you. I still think that from an existential point of view (ie. what does the Gospel, when it is all boiled down, mean for me?) you can’t improve on that.

        Yet, from an historical and scriptural point of view, I know that “the Gospel” is the proclamation of he coming Kingdom of God – in particular as it is expressed in the apostolic Kerygma to which I refer in this post. What is the connection then with the “existential” Gospel? I believe it to be the Beatitudes. Read Matthew 5 through with the question: what will it be like in the Kingdom of God? In the Kingdom, the merciful will be shown mercy. In the Kingdom, sinners who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. Those who mourn and weep will be comforted. Etc. etc.

        Actually, I think this might be the answer to Cardinal Pole’s problem below: the Beatitudes are all about God’s righteousness – his justice (dikaiosyne can be translated either way) – being demonstrated in his super abundant mercy.

        • Stephen K says:

          Dear David,
          This Lutheran view that “I forgive you” you speak of is also “Catholic”. It is the heart of Christianity, surely! Thank you for acknowledging my words. You are right: dikaiosyne means “putting right” – in both classics and NT – not “right” – a very different concept. But above all, thanks for accepting my thoughts, limited as they are.

          • Schütz says:

            Yes, I think it is the heart if Christianity – it is the Kerygma personally applied – which is how Luther basically described the sacrament of reconciliation. I believe that here Luther grasped something of the core of the Catholic faith and that Catholics need to be reminded of it. Even Pope Benedict recognised that one of Luther’s core questions was “How do I find a merciful God?”

            And this is why Francis makes such a deal of the homily. As a Lutheran preacher I was taught that every sermon must proclaim the gospel in such a way that a person wandering in off the street for the first time might hear the message of God’s forgiveness in Christ. This is a real challenge to Catholic preachers. It is why Francis prioritises the Kerygma over Catechesis in the homily.

      • Geoffrey James Kirkland says:

        I feel the same!

    • Tony says:

      Great posts, Pere and Stephen!

      For me it has echoes of a counselling course I did a few years ago.

      The key to success was a term more acceptable to a secular audience: unconditional positive regard. In a sense the awkwardness of the term reflects that it is hard work and that’s your starting point as a therapist. We spent 3 years trying to learn what it meant.

      It means you actively listen and believe and you’re very reluctant to give ‘fix it’ advice. When you build a relationship of trust no ‘admonishment’ — in the negative sense you allude to — is necessary. Given the clear air of a trusting relationship, the ‘sin’ becomes something that can be faced. That done, a solution follows with minimal assistance.

      OK, it doesn’t work out like that with certain problems and with certain people, but it works well most of the time.

      • Schütz says:

        The only problem, Tony, is that there is nothing secular about Pope Francis’ emphasis on mercy. To think that all he is talking about is “unconditional positive regard” is to so misinterpret him as to falsify every one of the 12000 word in the interview. He is talking – right from the very beginning – about the divine mercy of God to sinners through Jesus Christ. This is an error many are making about Francis: he is an evangelical, not a liberal. Without Christ at the centre his message makes no sense.

        • Peregrinus says:

          Um. I think there’s a risk of creating a false dichotomy here. Both the evangelical Christian seeking to practice the virtue of mercy towards the sinner and the counselling psychotherapist seeking to help someone address a psychic disorder are essentially trying to help someone grow into a more authentic humanity. I’m not saying that what they do is identical, but I don’t think we should be surprised if there’s a pretty large overlap. Pope Francis, of course, explicitly adopts Christ as his model of the perfectly authentic human; the counselling psychotherapist does not necessarily do so (though of course he may). But, whether he does nor not, his understanding of authenticity, and of how to support someone in growing towards it, can have much in common with the Pope’s.

          • Schütz says:

            But it was one of the greatest mistakes of 1970’s pop “therapeutic Christianity” to confuse the Gospel with modern counselling psychology. It is not the same thing at all to say “The Kingdom of God is at hand – repent and believe this good news” as “I’m OK – You’re OK”!

            • Peregrinus says:

              I take your point. But we should be conscious that an excessive reaction to that error could lead us into an equivalent but opposite error. Evangelism is not counselling psycholog, but both appeal to and attempt to build up authentic humanity, so they can have a good deal in common.

            • Schütz says:

              Hmm. Not convinced that the Gospel’s idea of “authentic” humanity is the same as psychology’s…

            • Louise says:

              David, in recent difficulties, I have come to have this view: within the bounds of the natural law, Ï’m ok- you’re ok” is not only fune, but even really helpful. This is about simply accepting basic differences like temperament, differing opinions on things which are not essential to doctrine and so on. It is an attitude of respect. But when there is sin, especially very serious sin, we cannot go to “I’m ok, you’re ok.” There we have to hold a line. We may or may not say anything to the person who is transgressing, but we must at least inwardly hold to the commandments as our standard.

            • Schütz says:

              Louis, I greatly respect psychotherapy and have also had the occasion to use it and benefited thereby. But we need to remember as you point out that therapy, spiritual direction and confession are three different things. On top of that, Christianity has a Gospel for the whole world which is about even more than my personal spiritual life.

            • Louise says:

              “…not only fine…”

            • Peregrinus says:

              “Not convinced that the Gospel’s idea of “authentic” humanity is the same as psychology’s…”

              It may not be. But the point is that it can be; there’s no reason why it must not be. And, in the notion that the optimal way of admonishing sin is to affirm and strengthen the wholeness, human dignity and human potential of the sinner it seems to me that we have an area where the two traditions apparently coincide. And to run screaming from that insight because it might look like an endorsement of modern counselling psychology would be an over-reaction.

  3. “the fundamental message, the message that has priority over all else, is the Mercy of God”

    This doesn’t sound correct to me. I thought that the Justice of God has equal priority with His Mercy, and that to prioritise one over the other is very dangerous for the spiritual life.

    • Schütz says:

      Ah. You raise a very good point, your eminence. Dogmatically, you are right – but I suspect that pastorally God’s mercy always has priority. I know that when I die, I want Christ to deal with my sin according to his justice – that I may be purified of it – but I pray that he will deal with me according to his mercy, that ultimately I may survive his justice!

      • John Nolan says:

        We should trust in God’s mercy “Quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio” (Ps 129 – sorry, I couldn’t resist a sentence with two ‘apuds’). However, we must not presume it, and to do so is one of the sins against the Holy Ghost.

        “Do not despair – one thief was saved. Do not presume – the other was damned”.

  4. Chris Burgwald says:

    David et al., what are your thoughts on this articulation of the kerygma:

    God loves each and all of us so much that He sent His Son to become one of us, to die on the Cross and rise again, by which He heals and liberates me in and through His Body, the Church.

    • Schütz says:

      I see shades of John 3:16 there, Dr Chris! You have married it to the anamnesis of the paschal mystery, which is always at the core of the apostolic kerygma. And added the Church.

      I don’t think that we need to pack the whole of the Christian creed into our statement of the Kerygma. In fact, while the Kerygma is at the heart of credal statements, they go beyond the Kerygma as such. I was recently reminded of C.H. Dodd’s “The Apostolic Preaching”. Here the thought is that we find the core of the Kerygma in the earliest form of the Apostolic message. Thus the Kerygma isn’t a “summary” of the faith or “the Gospel in a nutshell” but the Gospel in its most primitive expression. This Kerygma was an announcement of the coming Kingdom of God through the Paschal Mystery (crucifixion, death and resurrection) of Jesus (the Christ, the Son of God) who is Lord (of All/of the Cosmos).

      I also think that there is a lot to be learned from N.T. Wright’s work on the preaching of St Paul. My hunch is that in the apostolic preaching (at least to a Jewish audience), the form which the early Kerygma took was in terms of “liberation” or “salvation” from the Exile (this is N.T. Wright’s insight), ie. it is about the return of God to his temple, and his people to their land, and the restoration of the Davidic Kingship. And Jesus fulfilled all these in a particular (and rather unexpected) way. This is what he meant by the coming Kingdom of God (Fr Barron does a good job of covering this in his recent Catholicism series). The “forgiveness of sin” which Jesus achieved by his paschal death and resurrection was of the nature of Isaiah 40 – when sins are forgiven, the exile is over. So yes, it was about “salvation” and “liberation”, but not originally “Jesus died to save me from my sin”.

      And the Church is certainly a part of that – something which Wright’s work is reminding non-ecclesiastical protestants who aren’t too happy about it – as the community of the coming Kingdom, but the Church itself was community produced by the preaching of the Kerygma, not an article of the Kerygma itself.

      Today, we would not want to restrict ourselves to the proclamation of the primitive Kerygma. There is much else that also needs to be proclaimed, such as God’s love (which is expressed in the paschal mystery) and the Church (which is the outcome of Christ’s paschal mystery). We want to talk about the personal healing and forgiveness we find in the mercy of God in Jesus. We will want to talk about bringing God’s love and mercy to the suffering of the world, through which they will experience liberation and healing.

      But it is worth keeping the primitive apostolic preaching in mind, just to calibrate it against what we are actually saying. We can say more, but we should not say less.

      • Chris Burgwald says:

        Thanks, David! So, might we instead say that my formulation is an apt expression of the Gospel message for our day?

        • Schütz says:

          Yes, but consider that the Church isn’t a part of the Kerygma, but the Kingdom of God is. Don’t get me wrong in that – the catechism says the Church is the seed and beginning if the Kingdom. But the good news is that the kingdom of God is coming. That’s what is described in the Beatitudes.

          • Chris Burgwald says:

            Whatever the relationship between ekklesia and baseleia, the subjective appropriation must still happen in and through the former, no? And hence, even if the Church is not formally part of the kerygma, it must be proclaimed as part of the Gospel message, no?

            I don’t think there’s disagreement here, but just clarifying. :-)

            • Schütz says:

              You are right to say that we enter the Kingdom through the Church, but this is part of the didache not the Kerygma. When you preach the Kerygma you get the Church. You do not have to proclaim the Church for the a Church to be created. Take note of Peter’s sermon at Pentecost

        • Schütz says:

          Just to make myself clear, compare: “the Church is coming!” to “the Kingdom of God is coming!” Get what I mean?

  5. Chris Burgwald says:

    IIRC, Ratzinger was critical of the old thesis that “Jesus proclaimed the kingdom, but what we got was the Church.” :-)

    • Schütz says:

      Yes I know – I have just been teaching on that. The actual thesis is that Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom but the Church proclaimed Jesus. Ratzinger defended this Christological turn of events because to proclaim Christ WAS to proclaim the Kingdom.

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