Sunday, July 17, 2005

The authentic peace of the Church

There are many Catholics who have a distorted notion of what constitutes peace within the Church. For such Catholics, it is more important to "get along" and avoid any disagreements than to promote and defend Catholic truth. However, Pope John XXIII, in Ad Petri cathedram (AAS 51 (1959) 517, PE, 263.93) tells us that those of us who do not accept the views of dissidents within the Church must resist such views for the sake of an authentic peace, a peace which: "is not completely untroubled and serene; it is active, not calm and motionless. In short, this is a peace that is ever at war. It wars with every sort of error, including that which falsely wears the face of truth; it struggles against the enticements of vice, against those enemies of the soul, of whatever description, who can weaken, blemish, or destroy our innocence or Catholic faith."

Those of us who defend the Church's authentic teaching (especially in the area of sexual morality) can always expect to receive criticism from others - even some priests. This is so because these individuals do not appreciate - or in some cases even understand - the seriousness of dissent and the impact it has upon true concord and communion within the Church.

For those of us who actually listen to the Magisterium, dissent is something which must be opposed in order to safeguard such concord and communion. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, No. 40, teaches us that: "The Church 'is like a sacrament, a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men' (LG, 1). Consequently, to pursue concord and communion is to enhance the force of her witness and credibility. To succumb to the temptation of dissent, on the other hand, is to allow the 'leaven of infidelity to the Holy Spirit' to start to work."

The choice is ours: an authentic peace in which dissent is opposed for the sake of true concord and communion or a false irenicism in which every sort of dissent from Church teaching is tolerated and those who stand with the Magisterium are labelled as "troublemakers" and "reactionaries" and accused of being "rigid" and "inflexible."

We've had almost forty years of the latter. And let's be honest, the Rodney King school of thought just hasn't worked. Let's try the Church's way. In other words, let's try Jesus' Way.

Paul Anthony Melanson

No comments:

Site Meter