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Man the Life Boats!

A frequent occurrence in my life is that lessons from multiple sources will converge into a common theme. The most recent convergence began last week as I read Fr. Robert Araujo’s response to Fr. Thomas Reese’s essay on reforming the Vatican. Fr. Araujo responded in such a cordial manner to Fr. Reese’s suggestions that the Vatican needed to operate more like a secular institution. He clearly refuted Fr. Reese’s many errors, but it was always done with an abundance of charity. I was humbled by his generous spirit.

This morning I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Midwest Conservative Journal (MCJ). This is an orthodox Episcopal blog that chronicles the trials and tribulations of today’s Episcopal Church as it strays from the Faith handed down from the Apostles. I read this blog because it is well written and the criticisms are often laced with an unbeatable sense of humor. It is important to keep an eye on the happenings of the Episcopal Church because it is a harbinger of what happens when one focuses on earthly values and expects a church to conform to the culture rather than expecting a culture to rise up to the standards of the Church.

Much has been written at MCJ about the recent papal visit. I found this post quite interesting. Some Episcopalians are wondering if the Pope’s words at the ecumenical gathering were aimed directly at them:

Benedict decried the "splintering" of Christian churches over "so-called ’prophetic actions' that are based on a hermeneutic not always consonant with the datum of Scripture and Tradition." Such actions, he said, cause Christian communities to "give up the attempt to act as a unified body, choosing instead to function according to the idea of ’local options,’" thus losing their connections to Christians in other times and places. Some, but not all, interpreted that as a veiled reference to controversy in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Most of the comments on this blog come from Episcopalians or former Episcopalians who are disgusted, hurt, and angry with the current Episcopal leadership and the direction in which these leaders are taking the Episcopal church. Many cheered on Pope Benedict and averred that his words were most definitely a warning shot across the bow. Some went so far as to say it was more of a well-deserved cannon shot below the water line. The best comment however, came from one of the MCJ’s regular Catholic commentators:

Wasn't a shot at all. It was the sound of life rafts inflating after being thrown over the side.

Then I went to Mass and the priest gave an absolutely wonderful homily. We went to a parish that is not our home parish. Before the priest began his homily he asked us to pray with him that his lips would only speak the truth and our ears would be open to hear the truth. We then all prayed a Hail Mary. I don’t know if this is his regular custom, but it certainly does make one focus on the homily. He then began to talk about Heaven. He made it quite clear that Heaven cannot be entered if one’s heart is full of pride. One does not cross Heaven’s threshold with an air of superiority or self-righteousness. Purgatory is populated with those who try. They need an attitude adjustment before entering the pearly gates.

So what did I learn from these events? I am an evangelist and a catechist as I write this blog, teach religious education classes, or just explain my faith to those I meet. I must go about this with charity. I must make sure that my words and actions do not appear to be a shot across anyone’s bow. Rather, I want to be manning a life boat.


Catholic Hubby said…
Well said.
Argent said…
Recently, at one of his addresses at St. Peter's, Pope Benedict called all catechists to live lives that exemplified hope. It's not enough to propose, said he...a common refrain from him...our encounter with the Truth is not a set of propositions but a Person.

So spot on about being an evangelist...a carrier of the good beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of Peace.
Heide Seward said…
Thanks, Denise. I think your post was spot on. I had not seen that exchange on MCJ until you mentioned it, but I think that Ed the Roman was exactly right. The Holy Father was acting in his role as Shepherd of the true Church Universal. I hope & pray that his visit to the US will inspire others in ECUSA and other protestant communities to get into the lifeboat he is offering.
Julie D. said…
Well said indeed! I absolutely love the image of offering a life raft not a shot across the bows. Thank you for that...

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