The things I hear about the condition of the Catholic Church in these times, as well as my own thoughts on the matter, give me pause for reflection. I have the perception that large numbers of Christians lose sight of You while focusing on an institution. I have two ordained friends, “insiders”, one a priest the other a deacon, who see it, and we talk about it. One speaks with great certainty of the coming “schism”, and the other (from whom such might not be expected) comes right out and says the church is failing her people. This is scary!
I think of Your words to Peter that You would always be with Your church and that it would prevail for all time; but is the church, as we know it, Your church? Your individual example has shown us how to live, church or no church. You are always before us but, like the Pharisees of old, we become caught up in non-essentials that prevent us from recognizing You.
My priest friend thinks it’s going to take a major disaster to bring the masses back to You. He talks of us losing a sense of the miraculous and supernatural in our lives, but, he says, “It’s Your church and it’s in Your hands.” He has a magnificent ability to entrust things of tiny or cosmic proportions into Your hands and let them be. Me? - I feel guilty! I feel we are Your hands and it is us who have been entrusted with Your church and we’ve bungled it!
I have always had some difficulty with the gospel passage which says: even tax collectors and pagans love their brothers and those who love them. What merit is in that? The thing that bothers me about this is that if we don’t love those who love us, how can we love others? It has to start at home, in the family. But maybe this closed community of love is exactly what’s placed the church in its present predicament.
My priest friend calls my wife and me and our family “dinosaurs” because, he says, people like us are all but extinct - the world has gobbled them up. I tend to think that there is truth in the belief that the world is gobbling up the church. People are not “in the world, but not of it” anymore. They are in it and of it! The world is the new church, the new religion.