The Field Which is Your Church
11th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Fr Leon Pereira contrasts true pastoral care with its false imitation.
The Nazis enforced a compulsory church-tax (Kirchensteuer) which continues to this day. In Germany in 2020 alone the tax brought in 12 billion euros. You can opt out only by defecting from the Church. But the price is you may not be employed by the Church (or in her schools or hospitals), or exercise church functions (such as being a godparent), or receive the sacraments, or be given a funeral. In everything but name, such Catholics are excommunicated. Yet the German bishops expressly permitted Communion for remarried divorcees (without an annulment), open and active homosexuals, and Protestant spouses of Catholics, so long as you pay up. The message sent out is this: not paying the Kirchensteuer is the only unforgiveable sin.
But the Lord says, ‘You cannot serve both God and Mammon’ (Matthew 6:24).
When money becomes a deciding principle, the tail will wag the dog. Lucre will dictate dogma. At a Catholic conference in Germany (Katholikentag, Münster 9-13 May 2018), comedian Eckart von Hirschhausen, a Protestant married to a Catholic, opined that since he pays Kirchensteuer, the Catholic Church had ‘better happily hand out a wafer for it, or give me back my money!’ Comedy is serious business in Germany; it’s no laughing-matter. Money, the funnyman believes, gives him the right to demand changes to the Church’s doctrine and praxis.
We see the same in the current Synodal Path (also in Germany), already denounced by members for its prearranged agenda and limitation of genuine debate. When the Path failed to achieve a two-thirds majority from the bishops, it removed the secret ballot in order to cow them into submission, and succeeded. The Path has since voted in favour of same-sex blessings, lay preaching, relaxing priestly celibacy, women’s ordination, and promoting transgenderism.
In voting for these matters, those responsible have gone into the Lord’s field and sown darnel instead of wheat. The Lord Himself declares, ‘An enemy has done this!’ (Mt 13:28). Darnel mimics wheat, as error mimics truth. The Synodal Path proposals look compassionate and Christian, but the resemblance is where it ends. The proposals fail precisely by lacking in the love they profess to offer.
Authentic Christian love offers people Christ, not a lie. The late Fr Benedict Groeschel often counselled men with same-sex attraction. He recounted:
Once, a young man who had given up the fight to live chastely and had decided to have a live-in homosexual relationship made two requests of me. He said, ‘Don’t reject me, and don’t agree with me. If you agree with me I will never get out of this.’
Who will the lay preachers be? Probably poorly-catechized, radical liberals. If, per impossibile, we were to have lay sacramental preaching, I would choose devout daily-Communicant rosary-toting grandmothers. The Synodal Path hints that it is guided by the sensus fidei in its proposals. But the clue is in the name: to have the supernatural instinct of faith you must have faith. Devout grandmothers undoubtedly have the faith. Does the Synodal Path?
During the lockdowns churchmen went beyond state (and reasonable) requirements, to shut churches and restrict sacraments. The emptiness within them was manifested, since the message they broadcast was that earthly fears trump eternal goods. When liberal and heterodox clergy teach error, they act as pimps prostituting their mother the Church, rather than as loyal sons. It isn’t surprising one such cleric went on social media recently to sneer at adoration. If all that matters is our own agenda, then of course we don’t need Jesus—not the real Jesus.
It’s incompatible to remain obese and unhealthy if you commit to a sensible diet and daily exercise. Likewise, Catholics would struggle to be heterodox and lack love if they committed themselves to conversion of heart. What if all pastoral clergy were to commit themselves daily to praying the complete rosary and making a holy hour? Does that sound simplistic? Call my bluff then. Try it. What have you got to lose? The Lord of the harvest calls for workers to enter into His work, on His terms, to do His work. Pray the Lord for good and honest men to enter His harvest. That is the way forward, Jesus Himself.