“Often we are anxiously preoccupied with the social, cultural and political consequences of the faith, taking for granted that faith is present, which unfortunately is less and less realistic,” the pope said.
“Perhaps we have placed an excessive trust in ecclesial structures and programs, in the distribution of powers and functions,” he said. “But what will happen if salt loses its flavor?”
To prevent that, Benedict suggested a new vigor in proclaiming the death and resurrection of Christ – “the heart of Christianity, the fulcrum and mainstay of our faith, the firm lever of our certainties, the strong wind that sweeps away all fear and indecision, all doubt and human calculation.”
From that bedrock, Benedict seemed to argue, the priority ought to be individual formation.
“This faith needs to come alive in each one of us,” he said.
“A vast effort at every level is required if every Christianity is to be transformed into a witness capable of rendering account … of the hope that inspires him,” he said.
Benedict pointed to the example of the saints to underscore the point, saying that today’s pastoral priority is “to make each Christian man and woman a radiant presence of the Gospel perspective in the midst of the world, in the family, in culture, in the economy, in politics.”
Pope Benedict's homily in Lisbon today, via John Allen