What Does Courage Require?
In a homily bringing the Pauline Year to a close, Pope Benedict encouraged everyone to have the mature faith and courage of St. Paul. Contrary to the shifting ‘winds and currents of the age’, it takes true courage to be faithful to the teachings of the Church.
In his Letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle says that “with Christ we must reach adulthood, mature humanity”. Paul wants Christians to have ‘responsible’ faith, ‘adult’ faith. The phrase ‘adult faith’ has become a common slogan over recent decades. It is often understood as the attitude of those who no longer listen to the Church and her pastors, but autonomously choose what they wish to believe and not to believe: a sort of ‘do-it- yourself’ faith. This is also presented as the ‘courage’ to go against the Magisterium of the Church. The truth, however, is that it requires no courage because one is always certain of garnering public sympathy.
What does require courage is to adhere to the faith of the Church even if this contradicts the blueprint of the modern world. It is the ‘non-conformity’ of faith that Paul calls ‘adult faith’. What he considers childlike is to charge after all the winds and currents of the age.
Part of adult faith, for example, is commitment to the inviolability of human life from the very first moment, thus radically opposing the principle of violence by defending the most helpless human creatures. Part of adult faith is recognizing lifelong marriage between a man and a woman, as ordained by God and re-established by Christ. Adult faith does not allow itself to be blown here and there by the slightest breeze.