The conclusion is rather bleak. It seems unlikely that the next pope was present at the Synod for Africa. But 32 or a quarter of his electors were. That thought is even more alarming. □
( June 17, 1994) I have been dreading writing this article ever since the day too many months back when I picked up a copy of the French edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church at the Paris airport. How could my feelings of irritation be kept in check?
Perhaps the best way would be to concentrate on Part 4, devoted to Christian prayer, which concludes the volume. Here, I told myself, we can avoid theological controversy and test whether the book is really communicating.
Moreover, this section has been praised by Bernard Häring who declared that he "would like to see it published separately in a handsome format, accessible to everyone."
I wish I could share his enthusiasm. Most of what this section has to say is unexceptional. And there's the rub. For what is obvious and unexceptional is also unexciting. One is very conscious that it is translated from the French, and that it has been thought in French. This is the best of French spirituality of the 1960s.
Here it is on le coeur, the heart, echoing the admirable Vocabulaire de la théologie biblique published in 1962. It is the heart that prays. If our hearts are far from God, the words on our lips are vain. Then: "The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God, we live in relation; it is the place of covenant" (2563).
A deep insight is struggling to come to birth here through the Gallic rhetoric: something to do with the way we relate to God on the deepest level of our being. Some religious literary allusions