Wednesday 2 July 2014

The Church with no right to exist?

"Every notion which tends to bring down the supernatural order to the level of nature tends, by that very fact, to mistake the Church for the world, to conceive of her after the model of human societies, to expect her to change even in her essential structures and her faith to suit the world's changes - and this is indeed what is taking place among a number of our contemporaries... Today the secularist temptation has come to the fore very strongly.  Because the tendency of the times leads (to some extent) towards liberalism, some would like a representative, liberal and constitutional papacy; and because at the same time our society is evolving in a collectivist direction they tend to understand the collegial character of the Church in the form of a collective type of government.  These people overlook the divine laws of the Church because they no longer understand her primary mission.  The Church of Christ's primary, essential, irreplaceable mission is to remind us constantly, opportune, inopportune, of our divine supernatural vocation.
The role of the Church, especially in the person of her sacred ministers, cannot be reduced to [the temporal order which] is never more than a secondary end - even when the temporal order may have to be put first, here and there, so as to open up a path to the Gospel.  Otherwise the Church would be unfaithful to Christ, who did not preach the Kingdom of God "in order to provoke a general liberation of his people and to vanquish the Romans once for all.  She would succumb to that temporal heresy which consists in proposing that the temporal should end up by absorbing the eternal.  Thus losing her own soul, she would be reduced to a mere human organisation, and a totally ineffective one at that.  She would only be a parasite, duplicating, or trying to duplicate - without having either the qualified personnel or the necessary means - the institutions that men can freely create for themselves. At that stage, she should simply disappear.  And this is precisely what those whose minds are totally closed against the supernatural have been demanding for a long time.  This is also - what a paradox! - just what in practice some of her misguided children are clamouring for today, when they talk about wanting a "new" Church.  A Church secularised, naturalised, which would willingly give up her "cult" and replace it with "culture", seeking her lights not in the Gospels (even if lip service were still paid to them), but in the world; a Church which would pretend to be born today from some kind of radical "mutation", which would no longer concern herself, even with disinterested zeal, with anything but the organisation of life on this earth - such a church would have no right to exist any-more in the society of men, and would not be long in meeting dissolution."

Lest anyone think these words are my tipsy ramblings, far from it. These are not my words but the work of none less than Henri de Lubac.  

They were written (originally)  in a 1977 work, "Nature and Grace" (Ignatius Press, page 112ff).  He was was created a Cardinal by Pope St John Paul II in 1983.  

His words seems to pretty much describe where, for the most part, we have ended up today.  
Supplanting the supernatural with the ordinary and the secular.


Zephyrinus said...

Excellent Article, Fr.

At the last Conclave to Elect a new Pope, the BBC were calling for a Black, Female Pope.

I kid you not.

Anonymous said...

They were obviously running out of things to say as viewers waited for the result. The BBC say it best when they say nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

A timely reminder Father of where we walk mostly of our own ignorant free will.

In Domino,


Jacobi said...

These words describe things today very well.

I hear so many utterances from Church dignatories these days which would be perfectly acceptable in the Telegraph, even the Guardian, but are, how shall I put it, safely on the right side of Political Correctness.

And I don't disagree with them. Don't get me wrong!

What I don't hear from our hierarchy is anything that unequivacally CATHOLIC, about how to get to Heaven for instance, the sort of statement that an atheist or humanist couldn't issue.