Like a Drop of Wine in a Glass of Water

In connection with the now-imminent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States, here’s an interesting interview with Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican’s nuncio (equivalent to the post of ambassador) to our country, here.

There’s a lot of worthwhile stuff there, but this quote struck as especially insightful and important for American Catholics:

How would you analyze the situation facing the Catholic church in the United States?

When you are a minority, as Catholics are in this culture, you need three strong principles. The first is a clear identity, a clear sense of what you are and what you want to be. As a minority, if you lack a clear identity, you’re like a drop of wine in a glass of water … you’ll disappear. The second thing is a strong sense of belonging. I would express it in this way: you need a community, and the community needs you. Whoever walks alone sooner or later will be lost in the desert. Third, when you are a minority, you need a deep commitment to excellence. You must excel in human qualities, in family qualities, in professional qualities, in the qualities of Christian life, in order to be a light for others. If you don’t have a sense of excellence, you will be submerged by the majority.

When you have these three qualities — a clear identity, a sense of belonging, and a sense of excellence — then you’re ready to collaborate with everybody, ready to engage yourself for a better humanity and a better future.

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