Archbishop Donald Wuerl: Americans will meet "the living link to the Apostle Peter" Archbishop Donald Weurl spoke with Washington Post editors & staff today about Pope Benedict's visit, commenting that Americans will be expecting something different from what they saw in his previous occupation as the Vatican's doctrinal enforcer (Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith):
Back then, Wuerl said, one of Benedict's key responsibilities was "to throw a flag if someone went out of bounds. If you're going to have intellectual ferment, intellectual discussion, you also have to have someone who throws the flag."More of the Wuerl interview here.
As pope, Wuerl said, Benedict has a different role - to be the living link to the Apostle Peter, to the earliest days of Christianity and to spread a message of hope to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, "that we are capable of a personal relationship with God." That, Wuerl says, is something many Americans want to hear, particularly at a time when religious practice and belief are in dramatic flux. He believes recent data showing one in ten Americans is an ex-Catholic simply reflects normal American "drifting," and "shopping around." The history and truth of Catholicism, he says, will bring them back eventually.
"In our country we are so taken up with the individual. Everyone wants to realize their greatest potential, and that's good, but there are some things we do as a family," he said. People want to know: "How do I verify that what I believe is more than just what I think about things? Our function is to make people realize it's in this 2,000-year-old family that you find that verification."