This morning I was reading the Irish Catholic during breakfast and was pleasantly surprised to see a letter that I had submitted a number of weeks ago. Here is what I wrote.
Dear Editor; I had a delayed reaction to the Irish Catholic article ‘Baptism: A golden opportunity’ (June 2, p13). The article makes good points about connecting anew with those present at the ceremony who may or may not be practicing. Its primary view of baptism is that it initiates a life-long process of “obtaining the image of Jesus”. However there was no real sense given of baptism’s fundamental link to the ordinary means of salvation.
I believe that this is expressive of today’s mindset that presumes salvation from sin and death as the default option.
Pope Emeritus Benedict addressed this in a March 16 interview with the Italian Catholic magazine Avvenire as a “deep crisis” facing the post Vatican II Church: “Without this attentiveness to salvation, the Faith loses its foundation.” As a result of a “profound evolution of Dogma” with regard to salvation through belonging to the Church, “any motivation for a future missionary commitment was removed… Why should you try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved even without it?”
The Holy Father also refuted both the idea of the “Anonymous Christian” as developed by Karl Rahner, as well as the indifferentist idea that all religions are equally valuable and helpful to attain eternal life.
Perhaps this explains the casual approach to living the Christian faith that is common in our time? If the narrow gate to salvation (Matt 7:13) is now wide, “why should the Christian be bound to the necessity of the Christian Faith and its morality?” (Pope Benedict)
Fr Morty O’Shea