Thursday, March 14, 2013

Renewal not Reform

During the period of Sede Vecante/interregnum and conclave, the media was constantly bringing up the "r" word - reform.  CNN in particular would invite the hypocritical ex-priest Alberto Cutie to comment where he would voice his diatribe against the Church and call for "reform."  The once orthodox Catholic priest who appeared on EWTN and other Catholic media is now this "change the Church" charlatan projecting his failures as a priest.  I don't understand why CNN would invite this guy to comment on Catholic things.  I applaud Fr. Edward Beck for calling Albert out on his stupidity and blanket statements.

It is not news that the "news" is slanted.  They take on a liberal/progressive tone in most of their stories, especially when dealing with politics and religion.  During the interregnum, they would bring up issues such as women priests, abortion, contraception, the role of women, etc.  They seem to think that the Church has the authority to change doctrine.  The Church does not.  The only thing the Pope and the Church can do with doctrine is expound on it.

Women priests are as possible in the Church as men giving birth is possible.  This is not because women are inferior, they are not; rather, because Christ wanted it that way just like the things of nature are ordered in a particular manner.  Abortion cannot be defined as moral anymore than slapping your mother in the face is moral.  Approving contraception would be like approving the use of a mattress outside on a sidewalk for suicidal people to use whenever they get the urge to kill themselves.  As for the role of women, well it has been my experience that a parish cannot fully function without women.  Women help priests in so many ways.  I have seen women prepare the altar, make altar cloths, clean vestments, decorate, work in parish councils, lead retreats, serve as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist and lectors, even altar girls.  Moreover, about 70% of chancery positions in dioceses are staffed by women.  Women are even teaching our seminarians!  What more can feminists ask for?  Women are extremely important in the Church.  I cannot see the Catholic Church function normally without women.  

The correct "R" word is renew, not reform.  It is no surprise that the new Pope chose Francis as his name.  He wishes to bring about a renewal like that which St. Francis of Assisi brought.  Many people do not know this, but at the time of St. Francis, there were many sects within Catholicism attempting to live the Gospel.  This was why the Church at first did not approve St. Francis' rule.  There were already small groups of mendicants who were doing their own thing similar to Francis.  St. Francis' group was different because his group was obedient to the Church.  St. Francis called for renewal, not reform.  He was not a Martin Luther.

The Catholic Church is the bride of Christ.  After so many centuries, her wedding dress got dirty from the dirt and garbage the world around her has.  St. Francis took that dress and bleached it in the Holy Spirit.  He did not alter the dress, or had it redesigned.  St. Francis with his spirituality renewed or cleaned the dress.

Once again, our Church due to its human factor has gotten dirty again.  Perhaps God was giving us a hint that the new Pope would be "Francis."  During the conclave, a seagull landed on the chimney that would release the white smoke indicating, "Habemus Papam."  This is significant because the Holy Spirit is depicted as a bird/dove, and St. Francis of Assisi preached to the birds.  

It seems that Pope Francis is already showing this renewal by opting to take the bus with the Cardinals instead of his security detailed Papal car.  This is truly a humble gesture.  I wonder how long Vatican security will allow him to do this.  He also wanted the Cardinal to enter the elevator with him.  The staff had stopped the Cardinals to allow only the Pope.  Pope Francis, said "no no no, we can all get in."

He is already demonstrating a renewal with his humility.  This is important because people leave the Church or stop believing in God, not because of dogmas, but because of the lack of behavior among Christians.  Who wants to belong to a group of misfits?  People want to be in a religion that lives what it preaches.

Moreover, if this was not enough; Pope Francis even went to the hotel he was staying in to pick up his things and pay his bill!  This is just unheard of.  He is obviously sending the message that he does not want to be treated like a special human being who is untouchable.

Our Church is in need of renewal, not reform.  No human being has the right to change what God has ordained.  The Church belongs to God, not us.  Only God can change the Church.  Let us pray for this renewal to take effect throughout the Church and for our new Pope Francis.  



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