Sunday, March 24, 2013

An American Pope and The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God


From The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God:


As mentioned in our first chapter, it is the enemy who seeks to breach the integrity of the human person, and effect the ruin of souls. And it must also be said that the contemporary polarization in the church discussed in the second chapter is a clear attack by the Evil One.  As Basil Cardinal Hume has observed: “I suspect that it is a trick of the devil to divert good people from the task of evangelization by embroiling them in endless controversial issues to the neglect of the Church’s essential role, which is mission.” Thus, in this spiritual combat, trials will come, but God knows they are edifying for us, for they disclose the nature of the enemy and our own need for salvation and growing in relationship with Him.
So it is that because of the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, many Catholics do not practice their faith to the point of standing out from those who are ignorant of Christ. In approaching the vexing questions of modern society, too many Catholics take positions based on a liberal-conservative spectrum, rather than on the teachings of Jesus Christ which come to us via His church. Only genuine conversion, metanoia, the fruit of evangelization, will change this reality, allowing Catholics to experience the joy of faithful discipleship. No ideology may substitute for real personal conversion. In essence, metanoia means to question one’s own way of living, to start to see life through God’s eyes, and turn away from conformity to this world.. Genuine conversion predisposes us not to see ourselves as the measure of all things, but to a humility that trusts ourselves to God’s love, which becomes the measure of all things. This was the central teaching of Vatican II: a renewed call to the faithful to strive after holiness, which means doing the Father’s will in all things, empowered by His grace.

Pope Francis (then Cardinal Bergoglio):


The Church is called to a deep and profound rethinking of its mission. . . . It cannot retreat in response to those who see only confusion, dangers, and threats. . . . What is required is confirming, renewing, and revitalizing the newness of the Gospel . . . out of a personal and community encounter with Jesus Christ that raises up disciples and missionaries. . . . 
A Catholic faith reduced to mere baggage, to a collection of rules and prohibitions, to fragmented devotional practices, to selective and partial adherence to the truths of faith, to occasional participation in some sacraments, to the repetition of doctrinal principles, to bland or nervous moralizing, that does not convert the life of the baptized would not withstand the trials of time. . . . We must all start again from Christ, recognizing [with Pope Benedict XVI] that “being Christian is . . . the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” -quoted in George Weigel, Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church