Charles Taylor considers Bonhoeffer, and what happens when people do what they’re called to – or don’t.
Just think of Bonhoeffer, who talks about “religion”. Religion in his language meant a kind of very conventionalised religion which had been swallowed by the local culture and so on; he was horrified at how people weren’t, you know, the Protestant churches weren’t resisting Hitler. So that’s exactly the kind of thing where what they’re called to do is something that they’re not doing at all. So in that case, it hasn’t really helped at all.
But then there are other cases, I mean, St Francis of Assisi, you get – and of course Bonhoeffer himself – you get people that really, through very deep Christian sources, they’ve risen to this and they stand out. And this, I mean it’s wonderful because their influence lasts right through history, I mean very often, right? Whereas the ordinary people that just stay in the pews and let’s not get into trouble … we don’t know who they were.