New Church Under Construction: Good Luck With That!
|Cardinal Maradiaga: Francis 'feels called to construct' a Church|
The Honduran archbishop, who chairs the Council of Cardinals (C8) that advises the Pope, said Francis “feels called to construct” a Church that is, among other things: “At the service of this world by being faithful to Christ and his Gospel; free from all mundane spirituality; free from the risk of being concerned about itself, of becoming middle-class, of closing in on self, of being a clerical Church; able to offer itself as an open space in which all can meet and recognise each other because there is space for dialogue, diversity and welcome in it.”
For those who believe that the problems facing the Catholic Church in the 21st century are 'new' the book of Malachi was written at some point between the 200-500 years BC and its themes seem terribly 'modern'. This is, in the One True Church which compiled the Holy Bible, the last book of the Old Testament before the New Testament begins with the Gospel of St Matthew.
Firstly, there is an indictment of the priests of the time who...
'Hold the table of the Lord in contempt'.
Does that sound a little familiar? Secondly, there is a rebuke to priests who 'sniff disdainfully at me, says the Lord Sabaoth'. Quite simply, the priests of the time do not respect or reverence God - who do not fear God.
'For I am a great king, says the Lord Sabaoth, and my name is feared throughout the nations'.
A great king? Surely Thou art the Lord who enjoys the pottery chalice, make-it-up-as-you-go liturgy, some light liturgical dancing entertainment and a clown here and there?
'The lips of the priest ought to safeguard knowledge; his mouth is where instruction should be sought, since he is the messenger of the Lord Sabaoth. But you, you have strayed from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your teaching.'
Instruction? Teaching? Sounds a bit trad to me! The priests of the time have clearly given up teaching people to sincerely fear, love, reverence and worship God, and nor do they do so themselves. Sound a little familiar?
Fourthly, the Lord makes known his hatred for mixed marriage and divorce. Yes, divorce! It's almost as if this book is for the 21st century or something. For his people, the Lord does not recommend mixed marriages.
|He no likey. God hatey!|
God hates- read: hates, not 'does not particularly like or have much time for' - divorce!
'For I hate divorce, says the Lord the God of Israel, and I hate people to parade their sins on their cloaks, say the Lord Sabaoth. Respect your own life, therefore and do not break faith like this.'
The focus then shifts to the 'day of the Lord' which can equally be taken as the arrival of Our Lord Jesus Christ at his first coming, or the arrival of Our Lord Jesus Christ at His glorious Second Coming. Nothing else, it appears, is going to solve the moral and spiritual crisis of the 'particular' age whose sins we have outgrown.
You weary the Lord with your talk. You ask, 'How do we weary him? When you say, 'Any evil-doer is good as far as the Lord is concerned: indeed he likes them best.'
'I mean to visit you for the judgement and I am going to be a ready witness against sorcerer, adulterer and perjurer, against those who oppress the wage-earner, the widow and the orphan, and who rob the settler of his rights.'
Gosh, this really sounds like 'an open space in which all can meet and recognise each other because there is space for dialogue, diversity and welcome in it.' Let's face it, ultimately the new times call for a new way of 'being Church'. You know, because really, God's well, you know, chilled out. But wait...
'No; I, the Lord, do not change; and you, sons of Jacob, you are not ruined yet! Since the days of your ancestors you have evaded my statutes and not observed them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord Sabaoth.'
Okay, so the Lord is not best pleased. He doesn't change after all. He goes on...
You say, 'It is useless to serve God; what is the good of keeping his commands or of walking mournfully before the Lord Sabaoth? Now we have reached the point when we call the arrogant blessed; yes, they prosper, these evil-doers; they try God's patience and yet go free.'
'The day that is coming is going to burn them up, say the Lord Sabaoth, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays; you will leap like calves going out to pasture. You will trample on the wicked, who will be like ashes under your feet on the day I am preparing, says the Lord Sabaoth.So, how will that new Church under construction fare on that great and terrible day?
'Let them build! I will pull down.' (Malachi, 1:4)
Good luck with that new construction, Your Eminence. No Bishop, Cardinal or Pope should feel called to 'construct' a Church since Our Lord Jesus said...
'Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church' (St Matthew, 16:18)
The Church belongs to Christ. It is He who builds and it is He who pulls down!