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Archived Online Discussion
Topic: Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium
Date: 5-6 pm (ET)
on Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Carl Anderson
Supreme Knight
Carl Anderson:
Thank you all for joining us this evening as we discuss Salt of the Earth, by Pope Benedict XVI.

Tony Genco, Deputy Grand Knight
Woodbridge, Ontario Canada Council 13630
Does the book suggest we are well positioned to continue the mission of the Jesus for the rest of this century?
Carl Anderson:
Absolutely, as did the pope during his visit to America. And Salt of the Earth is one of the best ways to follow up the pope's visit for ways to implement his vision.

Jim Ruzbarski
Grosse Pointe, Michigan, United States
What do you say to people who believe that Pope Benedict XVI is not "progressive" enough for today's church?
Carl Anderson:
I would make a distinction between being "progressive" and "contemporary." Perhaps no one in the Church today has a better sense of present day reality than Benedict, and that is made quite clear in this book as it was in his meeting with young Catholics at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers. Perhaps "progressive" is the wrong way to look at it. Was decisive action regarding the priest scandal "progressive"?

Tom H
Wichita, KS
I know "hindsight is 20/20," but I was really struck re-reading this book how much time and effort were being spent in the late 1990s on liberation theology and none on the looming crisis of priestly sexual abuse.
Carl Anderson:
There is a significant section of this book devoted to priestly celibacy and the importance of maintaining it: this question is not unrelated to the scandal, though it is probably asking too much to think that he would know the extent of this problem years before the extent of the problem became known. This book is incredibly wide-ranging and deals with many topics that were of interest then (in 1997) and many that are still of interest to Catholics around the world.

Vincent Destro
New York
Many of the things the Holy Father said in this book strike me as being applicable to the Knights -- especially when he talks about a "weariness" having settled into the Church, or an "excess of ash" limiting the fire/energy of the Church. What can we do locally to renew and energize the Order?
Carl Anderson:
It's not by accident that our current membership campaign features the words of Pope Benedict XVI "Follow me!" Both in Salt of the Earth and in his recent trip to the United States, he has made it clear that his vision for the future is one of a Church that breathes life into society. We as members of the Knights of Columbus should help to lead that effort. The fact that last year we gave over $144 million and over 68 million hours of charitable service is a good indication of the vitality of the Order and of its ability to strongly support the Church and the communities in which there are councils.

Angelina Raefield
Tucson, AZ
At one point in the book, the Holy Father said that the Council Fathers of Vatican II "expected too much" from their sessions. A 1975 quote of his about Vatican II in the book says that Vatican II "awaits it hour, and this will come." Would you reflect on that, esp. the role of the laity in bringing it about... Or, perhaps it has in the intervening years since this book was published.
Carl Anderson:
The prime minister of China during the Cultural Revolution, Zhou En-lai was once asked what the impact of the French Revolution was. He said that it was too early to tell. The idea that the impact of the Council would be immediate is not true. It is a work in progress that will continue to be in progress for many years. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI who were present at the Council have done a great deal to implement various aspects of it into the life of the Church, but in the end, it will take many years to realize the full impact of the Council.

Springfield, MA
I was surprised at the candor with which the (future) pope speaks in “Future of the Church—Church of the Future.” As we head toward World Youth Day, what will Benedict’s message be to the young people he encounters, and what will he seek from them for the Church of the Future?
Carl Anderson:
Dunwoodie is a good example of what we might expect, as is God's Revolution, the World Youth Day talks he gave in Cologne. In fact, Benedict concluded his remarks in Yonkers by saying to the assembled young people: "It is from within the Church that you too will find the courage and support to walk the way of the Lord. Nourished by personal prayer, prompted in silence, shaped by the Church's liturgy you will discover the particular vocation God has for you. Embrace it with joy. You are Christ's disciples today. Shine his light upon this great city and beyond. Show the world the reason for the hope that resonates within you. Tell others about the truth that sets you free. With these sentiments of great hope in you I bid you farewell, until we meet again in Sydney this July for World Youth Day!" This is what he is asking, a yes to the call of Jesus Christ.

New Mexico
Salt of the Earth was written before Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope. What similarities can be seen in his thought - in the book, and as pope?
Carl Anderson:
There are a great many similarities that one can see in the thought expressed in this book, and more recently by Pope Benedict. From his discussion of the positive elements of Christianity, to his worries about the consequences of a Godless society to his discussion of a future filled with hope, the man we meet in Salt of Earth is very much Pope Benedict XVI.

I watched the pope on TV when he visited New York. He seemed to look so alive and energized for a man his age. What keeps him going?
Carl Anderson:
He acts like a true successor of the apostles. When we see him, we have a glimpse of what it must have been like to have seen Peter and the early apostles - animated with the gospel.

Albany, NY, US
Can't faith be about math too? B16: the question of the flourishing of the Church and, ipso facto, of salvation, must be referred back to a deepening of faith. However, when faith is genuine, it is always mirrored back to others in the form of a concretely beautiful life, and it is this beauty of the life of the witness that calls to others; it occasions in others something of a recollection of origins. Thus, in this way, faith is about numbers, for faith is of itself—through its beauty—evangelical.
Carl Anderson:
Yes and I think Benedict would agree with you because he has said often - and he emphasized here and in Spe Salvi - that Christian faith exists within community, it is not an isolated event. Therefore, where faith flourishes, there will always be a reflection in numbers, but I think Benedict's point here is that sheer numbers is not the sole measure.

Rocky Hill CT
Everyone is my family are Knights. I just want to say how much your organization does for people.
Carl Anderson:
Thank you very much. Tell them to keep up the good work. I hope you also enjoyed the book.

Stockton,California,United States
Did the Pope have anything to say about John Paul II?
Carl Anderson:
The book does include a section entitled "The Prefect and His Pope" which deals extensively with the relationship between John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger.

Mission Viejo, CA
Ratzinger's comments on happiness seem very counter-cultural. What can we gain from his insight into what it means to be truly happy?
Carl Anderson:
The point isn't whether it is cultural or countercultural, the point is whether it is Christian or non-Christian. One of the principle concerns of Ratzinger as Cardinal and now as pope, has been to recover a Christian sense of concepts such as hope, charity and happiness rather than understanding these in a secular way. Salt of the Earth proposes that a true understanding of happiness for a Christian can be found in the context of a life of the Beatitudes.

Alfredo Gomez
Tucson, AZ
What is the most important lesson that can be learned from this book which covers so many different topics?
Carl Anderson:
The most important lesson from the book is its title: that we are to be "the salt of the earth." First, that our lives are to have a definitive Christian "flavor," and because of this, we are able to influence society, and Cardinal Ratzinger thinks that each of us has an important role to play in this; so much so, that he wrote a book addressed to us.

Arlington VA
Relativism seems to worry Ratzinger in this book, and now. What is the fundamental problem with relativism.
Carl Anderson:
In short, it's premised on the denial of the existance of God. Why? Because God is an absolute, and of necessity, there are derived absolute norms that govern relations with an absolute. Taken to its logical conclusion, relativism demands that there can be no right and no wrong and as a result, Pope Benedict has referred to it as a dictatorship, since it excludes the possibility of accepting the One who says "I am the way, the truth and the life."

Grand Knight Mario LL. Sanchez
Cebu City, Visayas State, Philippines
Is that "The Salt of the Earth:The Church at the End of the Millenium." Like the Gospel of (Mat.5:13) "You are like salt for the whole human race.But if salt loses its saltiness,there is no way to make it salty again.It has become worthless,so it is thrown out and people trample on it.
Carl Anderson:
Yes. What does it mean when the salt loses its flavor? Cardinal Ratzinger reminds us that this is a matter of living out one's Christian life and not just giving lip service or making Christianity a kind of intellectual exercise or a lifestyle that is indistinguishable from secular culture. Thank you for joining us from the Philippines and we are keeping everyone there in our prayers after the recent disaster there. I am heartened to see so many Brother Knights from the Philippines helping their neighbors in the wake of this disaster.

Carl Anderson:
Thank you all for joining us today. Join us every month as we discuss some of the best Catholic books available.

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