Monday, September 16, 2013

The last resort for helping a drunk

Pope Francis on turning back the clock:
“The defining aspect of this change of epoch is that things are no longer in their place. Our previous ways of explaining the world and relationships, good and bad, no longer appears to work. The way in which we locate ourselves in history has changed.Things we thought would never happen, or that we never thought we would see, we are experiencing now, and we dare not even imagine the future. That which appeared normal to us – family, the Church, society and the world – will probably no longer seem that way. We cannot simply wait for what we are experiencing to pass, under theillusion that things will return to being how they were before”.
I agree that we can't passively wait for the darkness to pass. It will not pass in my lifetime nor in all likelihood yours. I don't believe it's coincidental that the encroaching darkness and the Church's internal chaos are happening simultaneously. Marriage is crumbling, the family is in shambles, and to watch the news is to be continually assaulted with stories of decadence, despair, and violence.

His Holiness claims that the old ways of explaining the world, of explaining man and his eternal destiny, no longer seem to work. I would argue that its the new ways that don't appear to work. Vatican II's stated purpose was not to promulgate new dogmas or doctrines, but to present old ones in new ways to modern man. Truth is truth, and not subject to change. There's nothing wrong with trying new ways of teaching perennial truths, but a willingness to try new things should be coupled with a willingness to admit when those new ways have failed or that they're not as effective as the old ways. I think that's the reason I often tear out my rapidly thinning hair when dealing with Church officials. Many of the things they are so passionately attached to may have been fresh and exciting in the 1970s. In the 21st century they're just embarrassing. It's humbling and awe inspiring to be in a Church that is centuries behind the times. It's worthy of a facepalm to be in a Church that is always five minutes behind the times, huffing and puffing to catch up.

I wonder if it's less that we are unable to talk to the world as that the world doesn't want to listen. Sometimes the only thing you can do for a drunk is wait for him to hit rock bottom. You don't want him to suffer. You want him to quit drinking and begin living right again. But that won't happen unless and until he wants to. It doesn't help our cause any that the Church's confidence is shot and her identity so muddled. But the world will come around eventually. You can ignore the truth but you can't escape it.

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