To be honest with you I was not looking forward to this post because it would require a few thoughts on what has been happening since I took my break. But what can you say? The landscape of the Church has changed so radically in such a short time many of us are left breathless. Well, perhaps, not changed, but things have been brought to a head so decisively. Many are scratching their heads and wondering what to do, others are deeply worried and some on the edge of despair. To all of them I say: "Have Faith".
The Lord did not found the Church to allow her fall beneath the whims of churchmen and women of any given time and fashion. Nor will she become a pawn of the world, an instrument to confirm all that is wrong with the world through a corrupt reading of the Gospel. The Lord will not allow it, his permissive Will will permit the Church to be brought to the edge, and we are getting near the edge, but she will not fall over or be pushed - "Thus far and no further!" God will intervene as he has in the past and will in the future for as long as the world lasts. The Church is Christ's sacrament of salvation in the world, his Bride, he is not going to give up on her, he will defend her. This is a moment of testing for us and we must rise to the test and be found worthy. Now we pray, fast, offer penance and seek renewal, because God is speaking to us in this crisis. And what is he saying? Well, we have to discern that.
We may enter a serious crisis, but we have been there before, and such moments actually assist the Church to strengthen her faith and understand the teaching of Christ in a deeper way. If it was not for the Arian Crisis and the Christological heresies we would not have had such a rich understanding of the Lord's nature. In this present crisis it is the very nature of man and woman that is disputed, the new heresy seeks to redefine man, woman, marriage, sex and family and is trying to pull the Church into its way of thinking and part of this heresy's modus operandi is to deny the reality of sin. But we already have the antidote to this corruption - the Gospel, of course, but also the teachings of St John Paul the Great. Though we recognize how important these teachings are, we have yet to plumb the depths - his philosophy and theology of man, woman, sex and marriage contain the Church's answer to the anthropological heresies that seem to be prevailing in the world and in the Synod hall. This crisis, among other things, will help us recover and understand in a deeper way who we are as human beings, created and redeemed.
The Communion issue, the dissolution of the Church issue are part of this bigger picture, not mere unpleasant diversions, but an indication that something is wrong that needs to be set right. The Church is called to be prophetic - to face the world and proclaim the truth about humanity. I think when this Synod ends our orthodox bishops and cardinals will realise just how prophetic they need to be, that they can no longer take a back seat or fall into complacency: the rot is in the Church as it is in the world and it has to be dealt with. And I think this will ultimately benefit the New Evangelisation (which has fallen off the radar for many these last few years). As more and more human beings fall victim to the sexual revolution, as they seek not just the meaning of life and the meaning of existence, but the very significance of being human, it will be the Catholic Church which will have the answer. In the future we will not only proclaim Christ, but also the true nature of humanity in relationship with Christ.
For now, we need to hold firm, and pray for the Pope, Cardinals and bishops. It may well be a hairy ride and we will have to parse very carefully what everyone is saying, but at the end of the day we have the truth in the Scriptures, the Catechism, and, on the issue of marriage and the family, in the teachings of John Paul the Great: let these be your guides.
Thank you for this comforting post.