On This Rock
When I look back at the person I was before entering five years of formal study in Catholic theology at Maryvale I recognise just how different I am now. I see those five years very much as a period of preparation orchestrated by God to help me through the challenges I would soon endure.
Before beginning, I was pretty laissez faire, not really my fault, I just did not know why I was Catholic, other than it was what my family had always been and it seemed to make some sense. I did not know what the Church taught, or how that might effect my life, death or possibility of salvation. I could not articulate the Good News. I could not pass on the faith to anyone else.
The first thing I realised about studying the Catholic faith was how coherent it was and how it addressed all my concerns and all the shortcomings in my knowledge quite confidently. I came to be confident that, no matter how convoluted or complicated my question, someone, somewhere in the Catholic world had thought carefully about it and given an answer which carefully built on the revelation of Christ and the Apostles. I was astounded by the consistency and cohesive nature of this message. Even what seemed really obvious flaws in issues like inconsistency in the Bible were easily handled.
I started to gain real confidence in the Catholic Church. I relished my study. This was something I could know and engage with. Something good for me and my family. Something that was not widely known anymore...Why not? I wanted to learn, I wanted to grow in faith and knowledge, I wanted to share that knowledge with my community.
I quickly discovered that quite a lot of people were at odds with anything that challenged their "cafeteria" version of the faith. I was told that it means different things to different people. I thought that being the case, you cannot hope for it to change your life or play the role it should in your life. No matter what, I always had the Pope and the Tradition of the Church behind me. A Tradition carefully elucidated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a Tradition unwavering and full of wisdom. It gave me the confidence to sit with priests and write part of the diocesan marriage and family life policy and argue for orthodoxy based on a proper understanding of Church teaching.
I quickly discerned one really upsetting and common trend in the clergy through all this. Some priests get quite upset when a lay person is excited and enthusiastic about their faith and tend to dismiss an enthusiastic disciple as a spiritual pretender or zealot. Overtly enthusiastic disciples strike many Catholics as arrogant, extreme, overly emotional and elitist. You are dismissed and called names. Priests write and circulate secret emails about you and try to undermine whatever work you are involved in. They then get extremely uppity if you confront them or try to talk abut this. In her book Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell talks about this:
This Catholic discomfort with overt Spiritual passion is another expression of the Spiral of Silence...A mutual priest-friend was put off when, in a burst of enthusiasm, Daniel urged him, "Let's be saints!" He said his first impulse was to wish Daniel would calm down and stop sounding so "Protestant". Who did Daniel think he was?I thank God that my own Parish Priest has always helped, encouraged and supported me. But some of the greatest obstacles I have encountered in my journey towards real discipleship: trying every day to put Jesus Christ at the centre of my life, have been priests who criticise, condemn, attack and diminish any effort I have made.
Eventually my priest-friend recognised that his real issue was not that Daniel was too extreme. He realised that the fire of his own discipleship, the spark that had fuelled his priestly vocation, had burned low. Daniel's passion had illuminated his own spiritual state. (p. 63-64).
But that's nothing compared to this papacy.
It honestly feels like Cardinal Parolin, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, et al don't even know the faith. What Chiodi and Bode are saying is out and out heresy - statements that, according to Church teaching, will lead souls to perdition! The Church is the teacher of truths that contradict what the world says and saves souls from hell, not leads them comfortably towards it!
And Pope Francis bestows papal honours on pro-abortion politicians and activists.
The best we can hope for is huge damage to papal authority and the respect for logical consistent thought in the Vatican. This papacy undermines the Church and undermines Christ.
At this stage, it really seems to me that anyone still comfortable with this papacy is against the Church and what she has always taught and for something else. God knows what.