Papal Prophetic Invitation (Wed Jun 1, 2005 10:32 am )
Pope Benedict XVI in his 1964 article "Free Expression and Obedience in the Church" wrote:
"The servility of the sycophants (branded by the genuine prophets of the Old Testament as "false prophets"), of those who shy from and shun every collision, who prize above all their calm complacency, is not true obedience . . . What the Church needs today, as always, are not adulators to extol the status quo, but men* whose humility and obedience are no less than their passion for truth; men who brave every misunderstanding and attack as they bear witness; men* who, in a word, love the Church more than ease and the unruffled course of their personal destiny." (* in the original German word is "mensch" which means human being and is not nearly as sexist as the English "man")
He invites and calls true prophets to "brave every misunderstanding and attack" as they bear witness. One wonders if he ever envisioned himself as the "attacker"? We all bear witness to the attack on those who "love the Church more than ease and the unruffled course of their personal destiny." And Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J. is just the beginning. Be that as it may, and be Benedict XVI as he may be, we are to remain true to the Spirit that promises the rocks will speak out if we do not. It is said the new Pope anticipates a remnant Church. Let us be that remnant!
Some thoughts to keep in mind as we brave "misunderstanding and attacks":
- Our thirst for just rights grows stronger the longer they are denied.
- As with Jesus, our relationship with God is not dependent on the hierarchy or clergy.
- Benedict XVI heads the institution wherein the Spirit dwells, but we ARE the body wherein the Spirit dwells.
- Death comes before resurrection, so expect things to get worse before they get better.
- Don't look for an outside leader - the Spirit works within you.
- It is the love and respect for one another, even adversaries, that marks us as Christians.
- Don't prize calm complacency, it was never the case right from the very beginning.
- Foolishness will cease in our Church only when "the foolish" stop paying for it! (Patrick Collins)
Challenges Facing Catholicism