Monday, 2 December 2013

Unimaginative conservatism

Evangelii Gaudium is full of interesting passages. One of them concerns the "worldliness" that creeps into the Church, which has been one of the big themes of the pontificate to date. Para 94 summarizes the Pope's analysis using a number of long, technical words – though Francis carefully explains each term when he uses it. Each of the attitudes identified here as an obstacle to evangelization is a form of adulterated Christianity, a manifestation of anthropocentric immanentism, by which he means an obsession with man in this world rather than man as constitutively related to God.
"This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain