Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Stand With the Church

The instruction from the Vatican concerning homosexuals and eligibility for the priesthood continues to generate considerable comment, much of it vitriolic and some faithfully supportive. I choose to stand with the Church and I encourage all Catholics to do the same.

This issue is the first major challenge of Pope Benedict’s pontificate. He certainly inherited an enormous amount of work and many problems, but now he has taken a courageous—and, among “liberals,” dissenters, and active homosexuals, a highly unpopular—stand for the truth and the tradition of the Church. I’ve mentioned some of the kinds of response yesterday; many wax noses are getting bent out of shape. “Diogenes” has recently had a running commentary on this issue, bringing up some important points and indicating the specious and disingenuous (to say the least) arguments of the Vatican’s critics. If you want to keep informed about that, and other issues in the Church, see www.cwnews.com/offtherecord/offtherecord.cfm. (See especially the posts entitled “detesting the unlocked door” and “backing water and blowing smoke”)

The firestorm generated by the document is a sign of the times, but the Church must stand firm in the faith handed down since the time of the apostles, lest she become just another ineffectual social institution, a leaky boat cut adrift on the polluted sea of a decaying culture. She is rather meant to be the Barque of Peter, braving the stormy seas and reaching out to Christ, who walks upon the waves and brings the faithful to the shores of the Kingdom. She is called to preach the Gospel, in season and out, even in the face of persecution, even at the risk of losing many of her members, who may have fallen under the “strong delusion” of the present age, which has descended upon those who take “pleasure in unrighteousness” (2Thess. 2:9-12).

The ones who reject this document from Rome are among the ones who groaned when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the Successor of Peter. He is a thorn in their side, not only because he stands for the tradition of the Church, but because he can articulate it so well and easily cut through the cheap slogans and flimsy, confused arguments of those who would like to remake the Church in the image of 21st century decadence and cultural trends. The Pope is an obstacle to their agenda for the Church in the U.S.

I recently read the new biography of Mother Angelica by Raymond Arroyo (which I recommend as both entertaining and edifying), and was appalled, though not entirely surprised, to see how many in the Church in this country, including bishops, were not only actively involved in trying to smother her orthodox Catholic TV and radio network (or take it from her to use for promoting a “progressive” agenda), but who were also involved in various other ruthless power plays and shady deals where lots of money and prestige were concerned.

That is not the Gospel; that is not the Church. Yesterday I said that God has given us the Magisterium to make his word and his will known clearly and applied practically by those who belong to his Church. We need more than ever to heed the voice of Peter and to stand with the Church. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better, but at least the lines are being more clearly drawn as to who belongs to the Church and who doesn’t. No more fence-sitting. It’s time to take a stand for fidelity and truth. The power of hell shall not prevail, and blessed are those who endure to the end and find salvation.