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This Pope… I’m just not sure what to make of the following other than that there is a deep, deep problem with both the Church and with the society.

The Catholic Church must adopt new approaches to evangelization in a post-Christian West, Pope Francis said in a Christmas message to Vatican officials.

“We need other maps, other paradigms that might help us change our ways of thinking. We are not in Christianity, not anymore!” the pope said Saturday.

“We are no longer under a Christian regime because the faith—especially in Europe, but also in much of the West—no longer constitutes an obvious premise of common life. On the contrary, it is even often denied, derided, marginalized and ridiculed,” the pope said.

The pope’s remarks echoed those of his predecessors St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who spoke of a “new evangelization” to revive the faith in historically Christian lands. Pope Benedict established an office explicitly dedicated to the task.

Those popes stressed a need to clarify and reaffirm traditional teachings in response to liberalizing tendencies within the church and wider society. By contrast, Pope Francis has tended to play down such teachings and focus on social causes such as economic equality, the rights of migrants and efforts to counteract global warming.

He’s certainly correct that the Christian institutions have failed miserably in the face of savage modernity. But, playing the world’s game of refugees, climate, etc. would appear to be the opposite of reinforcing tradition. And, it is the traditions that can potentially reverse the slide. So many people have departed the churches, Catholic and Protestant, precisely because those churches have given up on the Gospel in favor of preaching worldly theology. To be clear: without Christianity, there is no Western Civilization. The effects of the slide and transition couldn’t be any clearer.

Sayeth the Pope:

“Rigidity arises from fear of change and ends up strewing the ground of the common good with stakes and obstacles, turning it into a minefield of lack of communication and hatred. Let’s remember always that behind every rigidity lies some derangement,” he said.

?

Might there be some derangement behind and afore those feared changes? With, say refugees and the new Tower of Babel, how can there be proper communication? A new language study just reaffirmed the Biblical account of what happens when they ignore God’s nationalism and ram together everyone under the Sun (and not necessarily under The SON). Rigidity may be what holds back the minefield, or be what held it at bay for so long – until the changes of the insane world swept the West. The same might placate the hatred (a double given per the Father and the Son). And, what’s the opposite of rigidity? Squishy Christianity? What’s the use?

This conversation might have been better timed during Vatican II or even Vat. I. Well, at least it’s been broached now. Happy Sunday.