Pope Benedict XVI warns that the Catholic Church is facing a "deep crisis" following reforms of the Second Vatican Council that was held in the 1960s, the website LifeSite reports.
LifeSite reported on an interview granted to Avvenire
, the daily newspaper of the Italian Bishops' Conference, in which the retired Pontiff refers to a "two-sided deep crisis" in the Church.
Among Benedict's concerns are the belief that other religions are equal to Christianity in obtaining salvation and the change in dogma that lessens fears that one's eternal salvation can be lost.
"The missionaries of the 16th century were convinced that the unbaptized person is lost forever," Benedict said. "After the [Second Vatican] Council, this conviction was definitely abandoned. The result was a two-sided, deep crisis. Without this attentiveness to the salvation, the Faith loses its foundation."
As for the universalist view that all those outside the Catholic Church can be saved, which was adopted after Vatican II, Benedict asks, "Why should you try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved even without it?"
The view also prevents Catholics themselves from seeing a need to practice their faith, he said.
"[W]hy should the Christian be bound to the necessity of the Christian Faith and its morality?" he asked. "But if Faith and Salvation are not any more interdependent, even Faith becomes less motivating."
Even less acceptable, Benedict said, "is the solution proposed by the pluralistic theories of religion, for which all religions, each in its own way, would be ways of salvation and, in this sense, must be considered equivalent in their effects."
He also says that hope for salvation is even more needed in an age where technology is driving people apart.
"In the harshness of the world of technology – in which feelings do not count anymore – the hope for a saving love grows, a love which would be given freely and generously," he said.
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