Sunday 13 August 2017
(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