Sociologists of religion have argued that Christianity has flourished, in fact, where a diversity of church forms and practices have met the needs of different social groups.
Today, the greatest need for dialogue, building relationships and learning what really animates another believer seems to lie in yawning and dangerous differences between Christianity and other religions, rather than among the different Christian churches, denominations and sects.
This anxiety about identity is most evident in a stream of conservative positions taken by Pope
Benedict XVI, his predecessor John Paul II, and their Vatican offices. It has been easier to question the wisdom of these measures than to argue that the anxiety behind them is unwarranted.