Saturday, October 31, 2015

Faithfulness to Christ in troubled times

I really think more of us need "to switch on the lights" and reflect on the unrest stemming or at least somehow emanating from the just closed synod in Rome. To give you an idea of the amount of insecurity at large and the sense, now post-synod, of a Church very much adrift, watch Raymond Arroyo's interview with the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington (here).

First Things makes us a gift by publishing the video of the Erasmus Lecture of Ross Douthat. Douthat speaks convincingly of the crisis of conservative Catholicism and urges all who class themselves conservative or who worry about Catholic Orthodoxy to clean up their own act by getting to work on appropriating and better articulating the heritage of Pope St. John Paul II. Take a half hour to watch the video and take time to formulate your own judgment in this regard.

Douthat takes a couple potshots at what he considers the extremes, namely Catholic liberalism and Catholic traditionalism; he does so confident that Catholic conservatism should be the mainstream and appropriate vehicle for facing the challenges of the age and doing the kind of evangelizing willed by the Second Vatican Council as mediated by the two great post-conciliar popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Frankly, I am not so sure that he isn't shortchanging Catholic traditionalism. Sadly, and maybe here Ross needs to take his own advice and get down to brass tacks. He may discover that there is more to traditional Catholicism than the conservative mantra would admit.

This morning I was working on a homily for All Souls' Day. To keep it short and to the point, I decided I would have to focus on just a couple of ideas, but in trying to choose all sorts of points came crowding into my head. One of the things which did not make the cut is the liberal admonition to not judge but rather meet folks where they are and through sharing walk together to Christ. I couldn't help thinking of my reading from a collection of homilies of the great Saint Augustine. He met people where they were at and more often than not right between the eyes, making them think and challenging them often quite brutally to get on to changing their ways and hurrying their step to get in line with the Gospel.

We always urge parents not to cut ties with adult offspring who fail to meet their expectations. Even so, we have to let them know that we judge their choices or choice to be wrong. Truth is and it comes from God; not everything is up for discussion or constitutes a matter of choice.

I need to try harder straight across the board in my own life, to hasten like the saints along the path which Christ sets for us. Good will and a partial effort is not enough and Purgatory is very real. I would spare all my loved ones that and see them great saints. Please, God, also for me too. "Tough love" is a trite expression. Caritas Christi urget nos! We need some spurring on and a lot less compromise. 

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