Tuesday, August 29, 2006
As good as it gets.
What if this is as good as it gets?
What if Christian churches do not ever unite? What if Anglicans and Lutherans and Orthodox just keep splintering and subdividing? While Catholics keep splitting apart; there are "Old Catholics" and traditionalists, with ultra-traditionalists and sedevacantists, and of course those loyal to the Pope and Vatican II, (Wow - let me rush in to clarify that many traditionalists as well as novus ordo faithful are very loyal to the Pope and the Council!) followed by liberals and progressives. Then we may divide Catholics according to diocese and region, continued down to individual parishes such as St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis contrasted with St. Agnes in St. Paul - with the others in-between. We already have the so-called "American Catholic Church" (as a few on the NCCB staff might term it) and the Roman Catholic Church. There seems to me to be many fractures in the edifice.
Maybe the Church will just have to be smaller - maybe numbers will not matter. (Benedict XVI sort of intimated this idea once in an interview.) Maybe those coming into the Church will remain individual conversions, and there just may not be a general reunion of Churches. The Catholic Church already exists whole and entire unto herself; we are already "One, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." Is not the Church complete in herself as the Mystical Body of Christ?
My last post dealt with the current Archbishop of Canterbury saying homosexuals are welcome into the Anglican Church, yet they must change and be converted. This teaching compares well with the Roman Catholic Church. I have always said, we ourselves must change, not the revealed truth of God as taught by the Catholic Church. Therefore it follows, the 'other' churches and denominations must seek to be united to Peter, to the Roman Catholic Church in the same sense the Anglican Archbishop requires of the homosexual person to come into union with the Anglican church. For true union to occur, the other denominations must accept the teachings and tradition of the Roman Pontiff and the Magisterium.
As Pope Pius XI stated in his encyclical, Mortalium Animos;
"Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See...not with the intention and the hope that the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government." (This would apply to dissident Catholic churches as well, such as St. Joan of Arc.)
Not much to ask, is it? But what if this is as good as it gets?