Restoring golden age of Christianity not Church’s goal

Christendom has come and gone

“Christendom has come and gone,” Bishop William Wack of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida told the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) in a recent interview.

“We’ve reached the end of Christendom,” according to Wack. However, he said that the church’s goal should not be to restore a supposed golden age of Christianity or rebuild a political culture where the Christian faith reigns supreme.

“Our faith is not built on this state-sponsored or state-supported Christianity. It’s built on a person: Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow,” said Wack. He explained in the interview his vision of the Christian faith and modern society that he wrote about in his first pastoral letter.

Wack’s 18-page letter, entitled “Sharing the Gift,” focuses on evangelization. He echoes Pope Francis by urging Catholics in his diocese to become “missionary disciples” by living their faith and seizing opportunities to share it with their neighbours.

In the letter, Wack, a Holy Cross priest who became the bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee in 2017, acknowledges the “great deal of anger, division, anxiety and hopelessness” in modern times.

In such circumstances, Wack says the temptation is to retreat and “circle the wagons” to defend the Christian faith from outside forces, or to use the Gospel solely to address hot button social issues. Such approaches, Wack says, miss the essence of the Christian faith.

“There’s so much acrimony and division. We have to get out there. We have to evangelize again,” Bishop Wack told NCR.

“We’re in a world that’s very fractured, very fearful,” Wack continued. “There’s confusion, there’s anger, there’s anxiety. And that’s nothing new. That has existed since the time of Jesus, and before Jesus.

“But in the middle of that, we are called to live our faith. We are changed people because of Jesus Christ”.

When asked about his comment saying “Christendom is dead,” Wack responded saying, “I meant that to be provocative, so people can look that up, talk about that and ask themselves what that means”.

“It really means that we’re back in apostolic times. We have to just go out and preach the good news, in very simple ways,” Wack continued.

“I’m not saying you should go out on the corner with a Bible and a catechism. If you do, great, but share your faith. Pray in public. Give people hope. Comfort people. Point them toward something greater than all this stuff that we’re dealing with today”.


National Catholic Reporter

La Croix International


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News category: World.

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