Thursday, October 31, 2013
Dealing with Fear of Francis
If you find your traditionalist self a little appalled and worried about some of the things Pope Francis has said (or was reported to have said), then of course you are not alone. I know I have had moments of trepidation and foreboding, and I must say I am sick to death of reading the re-interpretations of the media interpretations of the Pope’s words; it sounds a little too much like excuse-making and glossing-over for my taste.
That said, there is a way to put your mind and heart at ease over this current situation.
Listen to these two recent sermons from the Audio Sancto website: “Christ is the Point” and “Spiritual Contraception” (no, the second one is NOT about NFP!). I am working on a transcript of each, but that takes time; I encourage you to listen to these in the meantime!
I’ll provide a little synopsis of each; but there’s much more to be discovered when you listen to them in their entirety.
In the first sermon, the priest reminds us that there have been some pretty bad popes in the past, and some pretty egregious things have happened in the name of papal authority. What we have now pales by comparison (at least at the moment!). And the bottom line is that Christ is the point. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, and we must not let our human fears hinder our faith, regardless of what our shepherds are doing and saying.
The priest gives this analogy and explanation: Imagine you’re on a boat, and there’s a big storm. You’re holding on for dear life when you realize that the captain and crew are having a drunken brawl in the wheelhouse. What do you do? Jump overboard?! Of course not! You are safer in the ship, of course; it’s a storm, so you hang on. Well, we’re in the Catholic Church, the ark of salvation; we’re already on a ship that can’t sink, that won’t sink. Even if there are drunks in the wheelhouse, we need to keep our perspective, remain calm, and hang on.
In the second sermon, the priest reminds us that the Holy Spirit is in charge of the Church. Even if we believe that “a few puny men” have conspiratorially taken over key positions in the Church and are wreaking havoc that they have been planning for decades, we must realize that they have not done so out of their own will and strength. “Either God’s in charge of the Church, or He isn’t; it’s that simple”, says the priest. Rather, God has not only allowed the current crisis to occur, He has willed it as a chastisement and a correction for the widespread failure to uphold the teachings of the Church – amongst the laity and clergy alike.
Quoting St. Gregory the Great, the priest says, “Divine justice provides shepherds according to the just deserts of the faithful”. This is a scary thought; some people said during the papal conclave that we should pray that God give us what we need, not what we deserve. Well…
Go, listen to the sermons! I will do my best to put them in written form ASAP.