Saturday, February 4, 2017

Mass Confusion in the Body

I would like to share a reflection by Fr. Longenecker. Reflecting on his conversion to the Church some 13 years hence, he remarked:
Famous converts to the Church

"What I was not prepared for was to find two Churches within Holy Mother Church. These two churches are very difficult to identify and define because the two different groups cannot be separated according to outward criteria alone. It is too easy to divide these two groups according to ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’; ‘charismatic’ or ‘traditionalist’; ‘right wing’ or ‘left wing’. The two groups I am talking about exist within all these preferences. The two groups are distinguished not so much by what they do, the way they worship or the causes they espouse, but by their underlying understanding of just what the Catholic Church is for."

In writing my book on the Church after Vatican II, I ran across the following observation from a prominent Jesuit after the Council:

It is clear that the Church is facing a grave crisis. Under the name of 'the new Church,' 'the post-conciliar Church,' a different Church from that of Jesus Christ is now trying to establish itself; an anthropocentric society threatened with immanentist apostasy which is allowing itself to be swept along in a movement of general abdication under the pretext of renewal, ecumenism, or adaptation.

                                                             -Cardinal Henri de Lubac, S.J., Christian Witness (1967)

I spent 7 summers researching and writing about just  how this schism in the Body of Christ came about from the perspective of one who is a cradle Catholic, and agree with Fr. Longenecker that many are in ignorance of "what the Church is for". To find out, the confused need only read the documents of Vatican II, or my synopsis. 

Fr. added a succinct summary of catechetical teaching on the reason Jesus established his Church:

 "[The Church] is about a supernatural transaction between God and mankind. It is the old, old story of a race fallen into sin, and a God who lowers himself to seek and to save that which is lost. Life, and especially the Christian life is about our search for the God who is searching for us. It is about stepping out on the adventure of faith to search for a city whose founder is God. It is about engaging in the war for our souls, and being determined never to sacrifice our eternal happiness in a search only for happiness in this life. Where this old story is preached and lived with dynamic discipline, hearty good humor and joyful abandon the faith will flourish. Where it is abandoned the faith will soon falter. It is vitally necessary within our catechesis, the formation of our children, the instruction of priests and the teaching of the whole church that we renew the foundations of our faith. If we do not there will soon be no faith left. If we do, the faith will flourish and we will build a church which will have the strength, the power and the glory to welcome home many more of her lost and wayward children."

I argue in my book that the gates of hell will never cease in the effort in "the war for our souls." We as the Body of Christ must never cease efforts to reverse the comtemporaryand search only for happiness in this life at the expense of our eternal happiness. To quote Ralph Martin, "Will Many be Saved?"