Unity in Dissent

It was nice to be reminded by Pope Francis that, though we are all called to be Saints that the Saints are sinners sanctified by God, made holy by God. It reminds us that without sanctifying grace everything is impossible for us, but that, with the grace of God, everything is possible.

I cannot help but feel inspired by these great heroes of God, these heroes of the Church and I will always pray to these great heroes and heroines of the Church for special graces. The intercession of the Saints is powerful before God's Throne.

Saints and Heroes

I was slightly taken aback by Pope Francis's slightly reduced vision of the Saints. I cannot help but feel that the Church has honoured these for their Christian heroism. Of St Paul, His Holiness says...

“One morning, 3, 4, 5 soldiers came to him.. they took him away and cut off his head. Simply. The great man, who had gone out into the whole world, ended his life in this way.”
Seconds later, of course,  the Church would cherish Her belief that the soul of this brave apostle of the Lord was translated into Glory. His Holiness also draws upon the example of St John Paul II who carried his Cross obediently even though in his body he had deteriorated so drastically before death. I'm a little confused as to why we should not say that St John Paul II 'heroically' carried his Cross and St Paul heroically had his head chopped off for Christ and His Church. I've been present at the bedside of Christians who I have greatly admired for their holiness and virtue. The manner in which they lived and the courage with which they died was, in my eyes at least, heroic. If a Catholic is valiant, why cannot we call them heroic? If we can call them 'great', why not, 'hero'? I guess that with Jesuits, nothing is quite allowed to be quite what it is.

St Thomas More: 'I was going to stand up Christ, but then I read a Kasper interview and he said 'don't worry'...

Dr Joseph Shaw has a good piece on Cardinal Kasper and the average Christian here and here. The pastoral approach to doctrine, from the Hierarchy and seemingly the Pope himself, is quite troubling. The Church, in preaching the whole truth is doing every Christian a great service not only in delivering the truth of Christ but in calling men to virtue, to turn towards the only Good we have, which is God.

The average Christian

The 'average Christian' and his behaviour is a little unquantifiable and entirely subjective. We may be average but we are always called to something better. That something is union with God. The 'average Christian' might be looking at porn on a daily basis or kicking homeless people in the mouth when they pass them by, but is the Church simply to aim low and hope for the best in seeking the conversion of sinners or aim high and let the truth speak for itself? The Church's Hierarchy might think it is asking a bit much of Catholics to reject Satan, but come on, we really are meant to reject Satan.

'All have fallen short of the Glory of God', as St Paul said. We all do fall short. The gulf between us and God's goodness is unfathomable. We all need repentance. We are helpless without Jesus. He Himself said so. Church Hierarchy suggesting that its all asking 'a bit much' to call people out of sin and towards justice and holiness sounds a little like the Church's Bishops and Cardinals - some at least - are prepared to throw in the towel. That really amounts to a huge loss of Faith which is staggering. It really makes Christ irrelevant. No need for Him to die and rise again if we cannot, with His grace, actually change, is there?

Beneath the clamour and the desire for 'pastoral mercy' towards the Faithful trapped in a particular lifestyle of sin sounds terribly kind, but I cannot help but wonder whether this kind of response to the crisis of Faith in the Church - as well as the crises in marriage and family life - is indicative of a Hierarchy who are each experiencing their own personal crisis of Faith.

I find it rather disturbing and a little diabolical. It is the Devil who says, 'You will never be able to break out of this lifestyle, this sin is yours, you are your sin, give up, give up!' Christ, Who, rose again from the dead tells us something different. It is He Who by the power that raised Him from the dead, is able to help us break out of the tomb of our sins. The Cardinal Kasper approach to the average Christian is to tell him that it is useless to Hope, so you may either give in to despair, or the unholy presumption that he offers you. Just carry on as you are...you'll be just fine. Let the Church 'look after you' without any cost to yourself. Don't worry about what Our Lord said, like 'If you wish to be a follower of mine, deny yourself, carry your Cross.' Don't go changing now, because the 'average Christian' simply can't do it. It's a bit like telling a class of school children that they know they're going to have sex at 13 and procure abortions, so there's no point telling them not to have sex and have abortions. I would have thought Pope Francis would call it 'spiritual worldliness' but it seems that is something that's purely material.

"No! I won't stop gambling! Kasper says average Christians need not!"
Oh but as for making Heaven on Earth by changing human structures and creating a man-centred utopia of justice and virtue, well anything is possible! Just don't go changing now! Within the Catholic Church, the vultures are gathering around true Christian doctrine.

Those who hold fast to it might not feel terribly welcome in the short term. More and more, Church unity will be found among those who dissent because dissent and unbelief is the 'powerful majority'. Unity has never been founded on dissent or error but on Christ, the Truth. It only leads to pain and suffering and schism to build on anything else and, indeed, they labour in vain, who do not have the Lord as their builder.

Comments

ColdStanding said…
Devastating rebuke. Well done.
Left-footer said…
This is excellent, powerfully argued, and to the point.

Thank you, and God bless!
Lynda said…
It seems everything in the Faith must be rendered meaningless, subject to cynical political ends. I could never have imagined the Church would be so completely infiltrated by evil and that so many would be deceived or in a panicked state of denial. Blessed Michael, defend us in battle . . .
Damask Rose said…
We've had a low-level Catholic faith for years. Low-level homilies, low-level catechesis, low-level liturgy. Low-level expectations. No need for a sanctified life, but ironically, you then have the creeping acceptance of more and more higher-level sins.
Anonymous said…
And what about the whole reason for our existence which is to know Our Lord Jesus and enjoy a holy friendship with Him even now as we walk this earth - with the promise that He - by His own words is preparing a place in Heaven for those who love Him - and will come to take us personally to it the moment we enter "the undiscovered country"...


And if my love is sincere - though imperfect - Our Lord never fails to lavish me with His graces - totally unmerited - to fight sinful inclinations - this is the story of my life - I have been lavished with His Grace - oh yes - no doubt about it ...that's how it is .... and so by not telling people the whole truth they cannot discover the wonders of His friendship and sanctifying Grace..



Human relations - even good ones ...are a complete other matter...

God bless Mr. Bones!

Barbara
viterbo said…
I agree, good post. although the unity of those who prefer anti-christ to Christ (remember there's no grey - Christ said for or against) will be a very selfish and blind and indeed, tyrannical 'unity'. Like Damask Rose said, we have 'low-level faith' being promulgated. lowlevelfaithsyndrome (faithlessness) has always been dogging the Church since JudasI, and it is usually faithlessness that promulgates heresy and anti-christness. the rare thing is that this lowlevel stuff is now being promulgated from the top.

but at least these days with instant access to the Sacred Deposit of the True Faith, it's not hard to know a false 'prophet' when one comes along if one wants to notice. It's simply one who contradicts the Deposit of the True Faith in words and acts. If we pray to hold to the Truth, it won't be God that fails us.

meanwhile, I do believe, the authentic unity between those willing to be left out in the cold by the lowlevelers will strengthen.
akp5401 said…
Excellent article. Troubling times.
Anonymous said…
Absolutely on the mark. We are in a very bad situation.