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German bishop: Evangelizing secular society requires sharing ‘the reasonableness of faith’

“The central questions at stake are: Is it meaningful to speak of God? Can God have revealed himself in Jesus Christ? Is this revelation recognizable, and is it liberating for me? What does grace mean? How do grace and freedom go together? Are faith in creation and a scientific approach to the world compatible?”

Voderholzer emphasized that these questions are shared by most Christians and also expressed “in the commitment to the protection of life, such as in the March for Life.”

He said there was a specific canon of scandals that Catholics often find themselves confronted with: “The Crusades, witch trials, the Galileo case, colonialism, complicity in totalitarian systems, corruption of the Jesus tradition, and recently especially sexual abuse.”

Apologetics does not mean a “defiant denial of the dark sides of the Church, or dogmatism at any price,” the theologian warned. 

“What matters is a knowledge of history, discernment, and the understanding that the ‘holiness of the Church’ does not mean the moral blamelessness of all its members, but the gift of the Lord to communicate His presence, His salvation, precisely in fragile vessels.”

Asked about role models for a “healthy form of apologetics,” the German prelate said he thought of Irenaeus of Lyon, Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, John Henry Newman, Henri de Lubac, and also Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI.

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