Tuesday, 16 January 2007

The question of Catholicism

“I would like to ask in all seriousness whether Protestantism can be a real answer to anyone for whom Catholicism has never been a real question – whether we still have any real business with the church of the Reformation if in the meantime we have left alone the counterpart with which it struggled. And I would like to issue a warning of the unhappy awakening which might some day follow such detachment. Those who know Catholicism even a little know how deceptive its remoteness and strangeness are, how uncannily close to us it really is, how urgent and vital the questions it puts to us are, and how inherently impossible is the possibility of not listening seriously to those questions once they have been heard.”

—Karl Barth,“Der römische Katholizismus als Frage an die Protestantische Kirche,” in Vorträge und kleinere Arbeiten 1925-1930, ed. Hermann Schmidt (Zurich: TVZ, 1994), p. 313.


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