The interview is refreshing.
At this point I haven’t seen a full English translation. Here is the Lifesite piece about it. My emphases and comments.
Pope Emeritus Benedict says Church is now facing a two-sided deep crisis
March 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews.com) — On March 16, speaking publicly on a rare occasion, Pope Benedict XVI gave an interview to Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, in which he spoke of a “two-sided deep crisis” the Church is facing in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. [Indeed.] The report has already hit Germany courtesy of Vaticanist Guiseppe Nardi, of the German Catholic news website Katholisches.info.
Pope Benedict reminds us of the formerly indispensable Catholic conviction of the possibility of the loss of eternal salvation, or that people go to hell:
The missionaries of the 16th century were convinced that the unbaptized person is lost forever. 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.
He also speaks of a “profound evolution of Dogma” with respect to the Dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church. This purported change of dogma has led, in the pope’s eyes, to a loss of the missionary zeal in the Church – “any motivation for a future missionary commitment was removed.” Pope Benedict asks the piercing question that arose after this palpable change of attitude of the Church: “Why you should try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved even without it?” [Indifferentism is pernicious and corrosive! I will add that our identity is undermined through liturgical worship which is not sufficiently focused on the transcendent, not aimed at an encounter with Mystery, not helpful in our dealing with our fear of death.] As to the other consequences of this new attitude in the Church, the Catholics themselves, in Benedict’s eyes, were less attached to their Faith: If there are those who can save their souls with other means, “why should the the Christian be bound to the necessity of the Christian Faith and its morality?” asked the pope. And he concludes: “But if Faith and Salvation are not any more interdependent, even Faith becomes less motivating.”
Pope Benedict also refutes both the idea of the “anonymous Christian” as developed by Karl Rahner, [BOOO!] as well as the indifferentist idea that all religions are equally valuable and helpful to attain eternal life. He says: “Even less acceptable 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.” In this context, he also touches upon the exploratory ideas of the now-deceased Jesuit Cardinal, Henri de Lubac, about Christ’s putatively “vicarious substitutions” which have to be now again “further reflected upon.” That is to say, Christ’s own acts in the place of others in order to save them eternally.
With regard to man’s relation to technology and to love, Pope Benedict reminds us of the importance of human affection, saying that man still yearns in his heart “that the Good Samaritan come to his aid.” He continues: “In the harshness of the world of technology – in which feelings to not count anymore – the hope for a saving love grows, a love which would be given freely and generously.” Benedict also reminds his audience that: “The Church is not self-made, it was created by God and is continuously formed by Him. This finds expression in the Sacraments, above all in that of Baptism: I enter into the Church not by a bureaucratic act, [Amen! By a liturgical act!] but with the help of this Sacrament.” Benedict also insists that, always, “we need Grace and forgiveness.”
It is so refreshing again to hear Benedict think, to follow his line of thought.
Here is a portion I found intriguing (my on-the-fly translation):
“Above all I have to underscore once again what I wrote in Communio 2000 about the problem of justification. For today’s man, in respect to the time of Luther and to the classical perspective of Christian faith, things are in a certain sense upside-down, or indeed there is no longer man who believes that he needs justification in the sight of God, but rather he is of the opinion that God has to justify himself because of all the horrible things present in the world and in the face of the misery of the human being, all things which in the final analysis would depend on him.
In this matter, I find significant the fact that a Catholic theologian assumes this overturning in a way that is indeed direct and formal: Christ wouldn’t have suffered for men’s sins, but rather would have, so to speak, cancelled the faults of God. Even for now the majority of Christians do not share such a drastic reversal of our faith, we can say that all of this reveals an underlying trend of our time.”
I direct the readership back to my perpetual remarks about our identity and our liturgical worship. They are inseparable.
We are our rites.
If we emphasize the horizontal and immanent, turning inward on ourselves (through, for example versus populum celebration of Mass, Communion in the hand, etc.) and do not leave time for the apophatic experience of Mystery in worship, what Benedict describes is inevitable. Over time we are, as a Church, beginning to reap these fruits of “reversal – revolution – overturning – capsizing” of “capovolgimento” of the relationship of God and man.