In a recently published interview on issues of justification and faith, Benedict XVI has addressed issues of mercy and our need for forgiveness, salvation through the cross, the necessity of baptism and the importance of sharing in Christ’s redeeming love.
The discussion with Jesuit Father Jacques Servais took place ahead of an October 2015 conference in Rome studying the doctrine of justification by faith.
The pope emeritus began by noting that faith has both a personal and a communal nature, saying that “the encounter with God means also, at the same time, that I myself become open, torn from my closed solitude and received into the living community of the Church.”
He emphasized that both faith and the Church come from God and are neither self-generating nor man-made.
“The Church must introduce the individual Christian into an encounter with Jesus Christ and bring Christians into his presence in the sacrament,” Benedict remarked.
He then focused on modern man’s tendency to ignore any personal sin and need for justification and to focus instead on the suffering in the world, believing that God has to justify himself for this suffering.
“However, in my opinion, there continues to exist, in another way, the perception that we are in need of grace and forgiveness,” he said, pointing to the recent emphasis on mercy in the pontificates of both St. John Paul II and Pope Francis.
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