Sinking Boat

Flosculus Reflexionis 

Sunday 13 August 2017

19th Sunday

(Saints Pontian and HIPPOLYTUS of Rome ( – 23)

(1 Kings xix, 9,11-13; Romans ix, 1-5; Matthew xiv, 22-33)

Church is a ship


Among many signs and symbols used by the nascent church is the boat. Even today there are many churches constructed in shape of a ship or boat. What a make a church? Basically, Church is made up of God and God’s people. Thus, the presence of God in the True Church is depicted by 6 things.

1. His real presence in the tabernacle.

2. His real presence in the Word.

3. His real presence in the People.

4. His real presence in the minister.

5. His real presence in the symbol of the Altar.

6. His real presence in the symbol of the Cross.

When the disciples took the boat and were crossing the river without Jesus, they faced many challenges summarized as waves. When Jesus came walking on water and boarded the boat, the water calmed down. The absence of Jesus in our day todays living makes our life hard. We face many challenges and that is why Jesus is teaching us to always walk with him and never to leave him behind.

Again, even Pope in the figure of Peter need to keep on trusting in Jesus no matter how the waves seem to be steering the Church offcourse. The other day, Pope Emeritus wrote a condolence letter to the Church in Germany during the burial  of his friend Cardinal Meisner. Pope  Benedict  XVI  sees  the  Catholic  Church  today,  namely  as  nearly sinking. Late Cardinal  Meisner was one one of one of the four  cardinals who  presented  Pope  Francis  with  a  list  of  five  questions  (Dubia)  last  year  on  September 19,  2016,  which  Pope  Francis  has,  to  the  present  day,  refused  to  answer.

These questions  are  about  Pope  Francis’  Apostolic  Exhortation  Amoris  Laetitia  of  April  8, 2016,  where  he  stated  that  couples  that  are  not  married  but  are  living  in  an  open,  active sexual  relationship  may  receive  the  Church’s  help,  and  “in  certain  cases,  this  can include  the  help  of  the sacraments”  (footnote  351).

The  main  question  that  these  four  cardinals  asked  Pope  Francis  was  whether  such cohabiting  and/or  adulterous  couples  would  have  to  live  as  brother  and  sister  in  order  to receive  the  sacraments. Although  Pope  Francis  has  refused  to  officially  answer  these  questions  (Dubia),  he  has nonetheless  made  his  answer  unofficially  quite  clear  in  a  private  letter  to  the  bishops  of Argentina,  congratulating  them  on  their  guidelines  for  interpreting  Amoris  Laetitia,  in which  they  state  that  yes,  in  certain  cases  unmarried  couples  (without  an  annulment) who  are  living  as  though  they  were  man  and  wife  may  receive  the  sacraments.

This  is  the context  in  which  Pope  Benedict  XVI  used  the  image  that  the  Church  is  now  like  a  boat that  “has  taken  on  so  much  water  as  to  be  on  the  verge  of  capsizing.”   The  fact  that  he  made  these  comments  at  the  funeral  of  Cardinal  Joachim  Meisner,  who was  one  of  the  four  cardinals  who  presented  Pope  Francis  with  these  five  basic questions  (Dubia),  clarifies  the  significance  of  this  image,  focusing  it  on  the  crisis  into which  the  Catholic  Church  has  fallen  as  a  result  of  Pope  Francis’  publication  of  Amoris Laetitia  on  April  8,  2016.

Everyone  now  knows  that  Pope  Francis  wants  people  to  interpret  Amoris  Laetitia  as meaning:  yes,  people  living  in  open  adultery  and  fornication  (without  an  annulment)  may in  some  cases,  while  living  as  though  they  were  man  and  wife,  receive  the  Eucharist and  the  sacrament  of  reconciliation,  but  he  refuses  to  state  this  officially  by  answering the  questions  (Dubia)  of  these  four  cardinals.

Pope  Francis’  refusal  to  clarify  this  fundamentally  important  issue  of  Catholic  moral teaching  has  thrown  the  Catholic  Church  into  crisis,  confusion,  and  division.   The  issue  is  that  Jesus  teaches  that  divorce  and  “remarriage”  (without  an  annulment)  is adultery  (Mark  10:11-12),  and  St.  Paul  teaches  that  one  is  not  to  receive  the  body  and blood  of  the  Lord  in  an  unworthy  manner  (1  Corinthians  11:27-29).

 Therefore  the Church  has  always  taught  that  divorced  and  “remarried”  Catholics  (without  an annulment)  may  only  receive  the  sacraments  if  they  stop  committing  adultery  and promise  to  live  as  brother  and  sister,  not  as  though  they  were  man  and  wife. The  problem  is  that  Pope  Francis  is  now  unofficially  contradicting  this  fundamental biblical  moral  teaching  of  Jesus  and  St.  Paul  as  well  as  contradicting  the  constant teaching  and  practice  of  the  Catholic  Church  throughout  her  history  on  this  matter.   To  make  matters  worse,  some  bishops  (such  as  the  German  and  Maltese  bishops)  are now  clearly  and  officially  decreeing  that  active,  unrepentant  adulterers  may  now  in  some cases  receive  the  sacraments,  while  living  as  though  they  were  man  and  wife.

And Pope  Francis  is  encouraging  these  bishops,  writing  to  them  and  thanking  them  for  their statements,  and  has  even  printed,  without  adverse  comment,  the  Maltese  bishops’ statement  to  this  effect  in  the  semiofficial  Vatican  newspaper,  L’Osservatore  Romano.   So,  as  Pope  Benedict  XVI  said  at  the  funeral  of  Cardinal  Meisner,  one  of  the  four cardinals  who  presented  these  questions  (Dubia)  to  Pope  Francis,  the  Church  “has taken  on  so  much  water  as  to  be  on  the  verge  of  capsizing.” But  Jesus  lifted  up  Peter  and  saved  him,  together  with  the  disciples  in  the  boat,  and  said to  Peter,  “O  man  of  little  faith,  why  did  you  doubt?”  (Matthew  14:31). 

We  too  are  not  to doubt  the  protection  of  the  Lord  over  his  Church,  even  though  at  the  present  time  under Pope  Francis,  since  the  publication  of  Amoris  Laetitia,  the  Church  “has  taken  on  so much  water  as  to  be  on  the  verge  of  capsizing”  (Pope  Benedict  XVI).

As we reflect on the idea of pope Peter trying to imitate Jesus on water, he sunk. Jesus was merciful to all people and his capacity of reading reading their hearts made him touch them. Do those Francis want to reach out to willing to change? They come on board and due to their lack of Jesus in them will make them boat to sink.

God is presence in calmness of the church. When there are many earthquakes and noises like of the unanswered dubbio and we add the doings of Fr. Martin with his Pride rainbow people, God cannot be there. Elijah had to hide his face at the presnce of the Lord. Pride people are not ashamed at all even when nude. If Adam and Eve had to hide at thr presence  of God, is He really presnce in the people of Pride?

Like Paul, “what I want to say now is no pretence; I say it in union with Christ – it is the truth – my conscience in union with the Holy Spirit assures me of it too.” I also feel pity and sorrowful for the people people of God. They are veering away from the truth. Woes to the captains of this ship if they will cause us to stamble on the iceberg.  Titanic is still fresh in our mind.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us 

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