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Who Comes First

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Even after 2000 years, Jesus’ modern-day disciples are still arguing over who comes first and who should have power instead of focusing on promoting holiness,

said Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

“If he (Jesus) came among us today and asked us what we were talking about, we would have to blush and fall silent” like the disciples in the Gospel, said the cardinal, who is prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Cardinal Ratzinger told the pastoral convention of the Diocese of Aversa, Italy, on September 15 that too often ecclesiology – the theology of the Church – gets so bogged down in questions of structure that the purpose of the Church is overlooked.

He said the Second Vatican Council’s description of the Church as “the people of God” was quickly understood by many people as reflecting the “general political linguistic use of the word ‘people'”, including a Marxist point of view of “the people” being in opposition to the ruling classes.

The result, he said, was a discussion framed as “a struggle for power”.

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