Sunday, January 5, 2020

Recourse to Approved Authors

The Power of Truth 
The Challenges of Catholic Morals 
and Doctrine Today 
IGNATIUS PRESS. Kindle Edition. 

Traveling to and from the States back at the end of November, I had time to read this collection of essays by His Eminence, with his Manifesto of Faith in appendix. If you are at all distraught these days by the ambivalence communicated by some charged with the teaching office in the Church, I can guarantee this book of Cardinal Müller will be a source of reassurance for you. It will confirm you in the faith as you know it and as it is still believed and taught. My point would be simply that in Cardinal Müller we still have good, solid folk out there.

Many of my lay friends and a lot of good, conscientious parish priests whom I know are in need of reassurance these days. The supports which they had found in recent years are often now called into question in the social media, especially as far as Catholic moral teaching goes and especially in the area of Christian anthropology. Too many Sunday homilies or too much stuff out there in the media which would pass itself off as Catholic, is anything but what it could or should be. Perhaps it goes without saying, but I would like to remind once again that the Church has always advised that we have recourse to approved authors. With that expression, of course we mean first and foremost the great fathers and doctors of the Church, but also a whole series of saintly men and women who have faithfully held to the tradition, as well as those who continue to do so in our day.

The idea of recourse to approved authors from the past and to those who faithfully adhere in their teaching and preaching to that tradition is no more than common sense, or should I say wisdom. Reserving the teaching and preaching office to those in Holy Orders was always a reminder that we live not so much from erudition or eloquence as we do from grace. I have known a lot of great priest teachers and homilists in my life, but the two men who for me have changed lives by their preaching were both somewhat bland and labored in their words. Because of the sanctity, the witness of their lives, however, they planted good seed in the hearts of those entrusted to their care and convinced of the witness of their priestly lives.

This notion of truth, here in Cardinal Müller's book referred to as "the power of truth", is indeed grounded in godliness, understood as that integrity of life which binds one to the Person of Jesus Christ. Maybe I should scold my troubled friends for their discouragement in the face of folly and simply remind that the road to perdition is broad and straight and, yes, too heavily traveled. The Church's path must be the one less traveled.

Let us then without hysterics just go our way. Robert Hugh Benson, in Dawn of All, his reply to his own pessimism in Lord of the World, does not really convince me. We do not necessarily have to expect an experience of Christianity written big, but rather encourage one another to take up our cross daily and follow Christ Who goes before us to Calvary. Approved authors can help along the way.


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