A lot of folks have been talking about the last interview given by the late Cardinal Martini. The Reuters news service article, previously cited in a post here at DatingGod.org (“Labor Day: The Work to be Done in the Church“), did not include a full translation of the original Italian publication of the interview. Fortunately, Fr. Joseph Komonchak, emeritus professor of theology at Catholic University, offers readers a full English translation (thanks to the dotCommonweal blog). The interview begins:
How do you see the situation of the Church?
The Church is tired, in prosperous Europe and in America. Our culture is out of date; our Churches are big; our religious houses are empty, and the Church’s bureaucratic apparatus is growing, and our rites and our vestments are pompous. Do such things really express what we are today? … Prosperity weighs us down. We find ourselves like the rich young man who went away sad when Jesus called him to become his disciple. I know that it’s not easy to leave everything behind. At least could we seek people who are free and closer to their neighbors, as Bishop Romero was and the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador? Where among us are heroes to inspire us? We must never limit them by institutional bonds.
Who can help the Church today?
Fr. Karl Rahner liked to use the image of embers hidden under ashes. I see in the Church today so many ashes above the enbers that I’m often assailed by a sense of powerlessness. How can the embers be freed from the ashes in order to rekindle the flame of love? First of all, we have to look for those embers. Where are the individuals full of generosity, like the Good Samaritan? Who have faith like that of the Roman centurion? Who are as enthusiastic as John the Baptist? Who dare new things, as Paul did? Who are faithful as Mary Magdalene was? I advise the Pope and the bishops to look for twelve people outside the lines for administrative posts [posti direzionali]–people who are close to the poorest and who are surrounded by young people and are trying out new things. We need that comparison with people who are on fire so that the spirit can spread everywhere.
To read the entire interview, here is a PDF edition of the text.