Tensions in the Church

26 Oct

(This is the second in a series on our Church and our personal faith as we answer the call to spiritual renewal in the Year of Faith.)

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid profane babbling and the absurdities of so-called knowledge. By professing it some people have deviated from the truth. (1 Tim 6:20-21)

The overt tensions following Vatican Council II have “gone underground.” There are still strong feelings, sermons, writings and arguments vying for acceptance of this or that right way of understanding and living the faith. But, this “underground” tension is a cause for concern: It is as though people in one camp have given up on people in other camps.

There seems to be a spirit of isolation, so subtle, its cutting divisiveness goes almost unnoticed. This is intolerable.

Let’s consider just one area of concern.

Catechesis and formation of children and adults: There remains a deep-seated frustration among Catholics concerning what precisely is the best and proper way to “pass on the Faith.”

  • There are good folks who insist that the catechism should be taught and memorized by children and that the catechism should also be the basis for adult catechesis. The facts of our faith, what we need to believe, are important if you are to be a faithful and practicing Catholic.
  • And then, other good Catholics cringe from memorization of the facts of our faith and opt for helping people discover God’s presence and action in their own lives. To develop a sense of community in faith is a top concern.

Unfortunately, some people have dug and hunkered down deeply in their “faith holes” and now refuse to look out except to take pot shots at the other folks. Then, happily, there are many more people of both persuasions who still try to find and stand on a common ground – the Truth, which is surely manifested among both “catechizers” and “discoverers.”

To form Catholics in the fullness of faith, both the “facts of our faith” and “personal experience of God” are indispensable.

Pope Benedict XVI, in “Porta Fidei” announcing the Year of Faith, clearly states that this renewal of our faith, this “new evangelization,” involves both a total conversion to Jesus Christ and a total acceptance of the truths of our faith.

The Pope, in this Year of Faith, urges us to embrace enthusiastically both Vatican Council II and the new “Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

The challenge is a big one: Catholics must “come to Jesus” and embrace the fullness of God’s revelation in him – including the Church he founded; Catholics must embrace the truths of our faith and its discipline – without becoming modern-day Pharisees.

We must have faith in God.

Some had lost their way in a barren desert, found no path toward a city to live in.

They were hungry and thirsting and their life was ebbing away.

In their distress they cried to the Lord, who rescued them in their peril, guided them by a direct path so they reached a city they could live in.

Let them thank the Lord for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals. (Ps 107:4-8)

(Next: Lay people are on the front lines.)


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