We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Language of Confusion

The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.—Pope Francis, Evangelium Gaudium.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the above statement. However, where human beings are concerned, if one does not spell out clearly what one does AND to a reasonable degree what one does not intend, these days a phrase borrowed is a phrase de-contextualized and a phrase ruined.

Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC provides a useful clarification at the following link:
http://rcspirituality.org/ask-a-priest-can-you-explain-what-pope-francis-is-saying-in-his-apostolic-exhortation-evangelii-gaudium/
Pope Francis has, since uttering the above statement, offered clarifications and restatements of official Church teaching. He could have, in the first place, said much more plainly that the Holy Eucharist is for those who are in a state of grace, i.e., those who have been to confession, for example. No Catholic should receive Holy Communion if they are living in a sinful relationship. Period. End of story.

So then, who are "the weak" of whom the Holy Father speaks? They are the repentant sinners who turn to Christ seeking His mercy and forgiveness.

The Holy Father has chosen to speak in a more gentle manner to sinners. That is a good thing. Sadly, we can see/read all too clearly that an invitation to sinners is a thing easily warped by media-types whose main concern is the sale of the news and the attainment of profit.

How is it that this pope's words are so easily twisted? Does he assume too much or too little? Does he assume people will listen to the voice of reason and recall the saving voice of Christ found in the Church's Tradition (note the capital 'T'!) and thereby act in accord with Church teaching?

Perhaps the Holy Father's approach, which tends to do what most commercial advertisements do—i.e., start with a positive image of a product then end with a rapid firing of the disclaimers, exceptions, etc.—should include an obvious reference to the Church's Tradition to help better contextualize his comments.

No doubt, upon hearing the new language of mercy some will take a hard look at themselves and come to the realization their lives are miserable and that the Church's message offers a much better alternative to their life of despair. Others, cemented by pride into their obstinately sinful lifestyles, will mock the Church and deride the Good News of salvation.

If we believe the surveys, far too many Catholics practice artificial contraception, intentionally or at least as weak Catholics, in defiance of Church teaching. Those willfully defiant individuals who could care less about the Church's teaching and who behave like petulant teenagers might do well to 1) stop calling themselves Catholics and 2) stop receiving Holy Communion.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.—Letter of Saint Paul to the 1 Corinthians 11:27-29
Not to put too fine a point on matters, (c)atholics who want the Church to change her teaching had best find a different home, one made in their own image, and leave the rest of us poor sinners who want to live holy lives as called to do so by God to the disciplined practice(s) of faith, i.e., the working out of our salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.