"The way in which we locate ourselves in history has changed." - Francis
Yesterday the Holy Father acknowledged to the priests of Rome the reality many of us are just coming to recognize as a change in epoch: "That which appeared normal to us – family, the Church, society and the world – will probably no longer seem that way. We cannot simply wait for what we are experiencing to pass, under the illusion that things will return to being how they were before”.
His words are in line with what his predecessors have pointed out when calling for a New Evangelization. His words define for us the rapid changes in culture we are witnessing: "The defining aspect of this change of epoch is that things are no longer in their place. Our previous ways of explaining the world and relationships, good and bad, no longer appears to work."
The Holy Father's acknowledgement appears to be in line with what critics of the hierarchical structure of the Church have to say, as well as what dissidents who reject traditional Catholic teaching on sexuality say. Two comments on a post I wrote last week illustrate that:
"They (bishops) realize they lost a lot of the faithful on this issue (gay marriage), so they are trying desperately to keep the people they do have." - MM
"The bishops may have power (to fire church workers, for instance, who disagree with them), but they have no influence." - MB
No doubt the bishops understand and know that a great number of the faithful have gone missing, that their (bishops) credibility and influence has been compromised - yet they also have to know, together with the Holy Father, that Christ's "grace is sufficient, that His power is made perfect in weakness.” That His love, at work in those who believe, "can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine." Hence the Holy Father's solution is not to change Catholic teaching, or preach a new gospel, but rather to take it to the streets, even outside the 'institutions', to the most remote corners of cultural collapse: "To become once again a Church driven by evangelical momentum and audacity, we must again become faithful and evangelised disciples”.
At least, that is how I see it.
"Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow."
THE POPE TO THE PRIESTS OF ROME: ALWAYS STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR PEOPLE
Francis urges priests to give a helping hand to couples that live together.