Ahh, I have not abandoned my new plan but this past Friday was a wash for me. I had too many competing events and this gave way to the other demands. Likewise, yesterday was awash with activity too. I sometimes feel that the “doing” of life is getting the better of me. The older I get it just takes longer to do everything, let alone find the silence needed for reflection. Right now, everything is quiet and I have time. How long that will last is anyone’s guess.
I think my revised purpose in this year of Faith is to pray for dissenting Catholics. I have several reasons for this. First is to overcome my anger and treat them as they are: my brothers and sisters. Second is to overcome my own arrogance as I know as much as they and don’t have an inside line. We are all on the same path. But they want us to go over the cliff on the side of the path up the holy mountain. I refuse to join them. That they want to pull the Church down into the ravine with them is not going to happen. Centuries have shown this. So, I am also praying to bolster my own faith to have faith that God is always with us. Finally, I really don’t think they are on the right track and so I am praying for their souls.
The last word above might be my starting point. Often when I read literature from dissenters – which can be found all over the WEB and are both on the liberal and conservative sides of the Church – I rarely see their concern for anyone else’s soul. Conservatives sometimes act like the rest of us have none because we obviously don’t know or adhere to the truth. Liberals act as if the concept of soul itself is archaic and medieval, just like the notion of sin.
The favorite target of my anger is the National Catholic Reporter. Many on that paper really have lost their way. They have branched off the path and am afraid will never find it again. Some are on their way off the path. Often I agree with Michael Sean Winters but his recent article stating that the Church’s theology of homosexuality is inadequate means that he is toying with redefining sin, as if he, we, or I can. When he reads the words “disordered” in Vatican pronouncements, it’s as if he is responding to the diagnosis from Psychology. So it is hard for me to take him seriously. The paradigm he has labeled theology is really “modern” psychotheology. When people knowingly sin, do not master themselves and fling it in the face of the Master, it is disordered. A person who is sexually active with a person of the same-sex has a disordered relationship with Christ. That’s what sin is – a disordered relationship with God. It is what it is. We cannot redefine it.
As I write this, I am reflecting on my own disordered relationship with Christ about different sins. Writing about others spitting at Christ is humbling – I am a sinner.
I believe when I die many active homosexuals will be in heaven but I also believe it is the duty of the Church to say – “that’s a sin”. When dissenters or righteous people decide the Church is wrong and promote a different set of commandments and gospel- what are they doing to someone else’s soul? what are they doing to the Church’s soul.?
I know what Winters really is after – the loving Church we proclaim. He doesn’t really want to drag the Church over the cliff. To not love a homosexual and not treat the person with respect, dignity and worth is also disordered. But his way of going about it isn’t spiritual, it is violent and so it cannot renew. He claims victimhood for others, claims superiority in understanding, and uses nonviolent methods to spread violence. Through words that spit at the Church and therefore at Christ, he seeks to reform the Church. Truly, is that how one reforms the Church? Has the Church spoken an untruth needing reform? One reforms the Church when it is not spreading the Gospel message – the same message Christ proclaimed.
Reform Christ? Let’s face what Christ would tell homosexuals – I love you, I understand, but sin no more. Remember, I died for you. Don’t throw it in my or my Father’s face. (He says that to me about mine). Come with me, I will help you – He says. In essence, Christ says – there is a God, He loves you, You are His. Repent and sin no more so that you can be close to Him.
Winters and the National Catholic Reporter only want to claim the one side of being Catholic and it is their side. The paper, in my opinion, treats the rest of us as ignorant children when we disagree with them and, especially when we agree with the Church. I can imagine in the democratic Church they envision, we would all be bullied into submission because of their own arrogance and blindness.
As you can see, I am angry. I am praying for myself as much as for them, and for the Church. I am angered. I cannot see. I do not give it to God. Pray for me. Pray for them.
Today’s second reading helps today. It is out of context to the whole of the readings but Paul was always correcting his brothers. His letters are love letters for the ages. This one is too. This is my prayer to my Brothers and Sisters at the National Catholic Reporter and all the others who knowingly and unknowingly lead us to dissent. Taken from here: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120912.cfm
Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.