A Radical Catholicism?

19 Jun


In the Mass, we enter into the real death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

         What pops into mind when you hear about radicals: the angry demonstrators for or against a certain law or movement or candidate?

In one sense, these are radical.

        Such demonstrations emerge from a deep sense of oppression—or a terrible discontent with what is real or thought to be real. It might flow from a sick desire to create havoc rather than restore peace.

         “Radical” means stemming from the root of something.When I speak of a radical Catholicism, I am not speaking of any public demonstration for or against anything. Rather I speak of a Church whose members have returned to the roots of our faith—our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the authentic Tradition and teachings of his Church.

          The Liturgy of the Hours offers this: “May we always feed on the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”[i]

          What, then, is that unleavened bread of sincerity and truth? It is the core of what we believe: Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, God and Man, Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit.

          It is the foundation of the Apostles and their magnetic belief in who Jesus is and what he taught. And that authoritative teaching has come down to us through our popes and bishops, and our faith is celebrated in communion with them and with our priests who offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

          That unleavened bread of sincerity and truth assures us that once consecrated, a small unleavened host and the wine in that little cup are now Jesus Christ, God and Man, his Body, Blood, soul and divinity.

          Also, we embrace the truth that in the Mass, we enter into the real death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When our Lord instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, he commanded, “Do this in memory of me.” His passion, death and resurrection are eternal realities. In real time through our Mass, we enter and are united in that one and only sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are there—as I’ve said many times before—at the Last Supper, at the Cross and with Mary Magdalen at the empty tomb.

          We believe deeply in the communion of saints—because St. Paul tells us we are saints. Also, we believe because the Church holds up the lives of the saints as examples of faith, hope, love and courage. We always celebrate the faith and love of Mary, Mother of God, and that of her spouse, St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. But in no way does our devotion to any saint equal or replace the Mass.

          Finally, a radical Catholicism becomes a public sign of love for God and for all peoples. It becomes an energetic, calm and persistent witness to our faith in God and our fidelity to his Truth which the Church teaches with grace and authority from God.


[i] Book II, pg. 887


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