We live in an age of rejection. If we do not like someone’s politics, religion, beliefs, who they are as a person, complexion of their skin, weaves, or any interesting thing then we are able to simply reject them and toss them aside. The over-politicization of our culture has furthered this trend towards spurning those who do not conform to our own worldview. It is likewise an aspect of the “throw away” culture. This is an rife difficulty , not merely in different cultures, but within the Church as well.
An age predicated on rejection leads to a loss of mercy and benevolence. Instead, we increase love to some form of schmaltz or something of our own obligating. As long as this person conforms to this set criteria then they are worthy of love. If they do not, then then there expendable. How countless parties were cast aside in the last election by genealogy, friends, co-workers, or even complete strangers because their political tilts implied they should be cast off into the darkness?
Within the Church this lack of philanthropy, compassion, and the abandonment of others plays out just as much as within secular culture. The worst illustration in recent years is the clergy sex abuse scandal where the victims were cast off and was refused by a freezing, merciless edition of the institutional side of the Church. An institution that is necessary for the running of the Church in this world, but one that is always meant to be lived with the Last Supper in thinker and with the understanding that the Church is a supernatural actuality that exists at a much deeper level than the men serving within her hierarchy.
Christ calls clergymen and bishops to serve as Christ performs, which He supports most clearly in the washing of His Apostles’ feet on Holy Thursday, the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, and on the Cross. They are called to be spiritual fathers who seek to bind the curves of those who are abused and wounded within the Church. Too often, the victims are blamed for their own pain or cast off as collateral impair in order to protect a corrupt system at the worst, or a dysfunctional one at best.
This rejection of victims, as well as the vindicated protest of the faithful, is still left unheard or misunderstand in many parts of the hierarchy. It’s as if the faithful are simply supposed to get over these deep festering wraps within the Church that has actually increased in a pandemic during which, in some dioceses, the Sacraments and the spiritual man have made a back seat to safety, certificate, or social justice issues. The loyal are crying out for genuine spiritual leadership and authentic spiritual fatherhood that ministers from a residence of religion, hope, and donation. The faithful want to trust that their spiritual fathers have their eternal salvation at the very heart and forefront of their priesthood.
Much in the way children know when their parents are failing them, the faithful know when an apologetic is half-hearted, to be established by lawyers, or drafted by public relations conglomerates. We know when there is true contrition and better understanding of the profound stand sorrow, rejection, and betrayal of victims and faithful. We know when we are being treated as Christlike or not.
This is why those among the faithful who want to grow in holiness and who want to see the renewal of the Church feel like they have been rejected. Their cries have gone unanswered in too many instances. We know deep down these actions are a rejection of the calling to love us as spiritual fathers called by Christ to His priesthood. That rather than spiritual fatherhood being the footing force in the lives of some bishops and clergymen who have wounded the faithful, there is a sense that they are just going through the motions to try to appease, rather than to ameliorate and heal.
Any parent who has hurt their child knows what deep damage it causes them. It requires a great deal of meeknes, anguish, and kindnes to apologize for the sins we dedicate against them. A child knows when their parent is coming to them in an genuine outpouring of penitence and adore. The loyal know this too, which is why so many have been left indignation and hurt.
The Church is supposed to be where we can encounter Christ in order for our wounds to be rectified through the mercy of the Sacraments. Her priests are supposed to be spiritual healers, good shepherd, and spiritual fathers. We cannot bring healing to our own culture wounded by rejection, so long as many of the Church’s masters continue to reject the faithful while failing to embrace the gifts given by God. Bureaucratic responses drive a deeper fingernail into the weaves of those who feel revealed and rejected by the hierarchy.
It should be evident by the vitriol in Catholic social media that there are very deep meanders within the faithful. I do not believe this vitriolic fury on the part of the faithful does any good. We must pray to forgive and pray and relinquish for a holy priesthood. This is the beginning of renewal. Healing ultimately begins when we choose to forgive and to pray for those who have hurt us. Our role is to fight the good fight in the spiritual debates necessary to help bring about saintly priests.
We need spiritual fathers who are willing to fall to their knees and soak the foot of the wounded. Who will seek crucifixion with Christ because love looks like pierced handwritings and feet. Men who love with the heart of St. Joseph and who protect their spiritual children at all costs. Pastors who allow Our Blessed Mother to show them how to become spiritual fathers in an age when manlines is under attack. Above all else, priests whose entire name flows from Our Lord’s Real Presence. We as the faithful must cry and relinquish for clergymen to become saints despite the deep winds of rejection.
Ultimately, this is what the faithful is seeking in response to the gossips and immorality within the Church. We want to see Christ in our chairmen. We miss spiritual fathers who try our eventual good, which is eternal life. There are countless priests and bishops who lay down their lives each day united to Christ for the faithful, but there are also too many who are not and who continue to wound the faithful. The institutional organize of the Church is necessary for the running of the Church, but it never substitutes the supernatural calling of the priesthood in Christ. Christ Himself warns that we are never to make manmade principles before God.
The priest is a mystagogue to be sure, but in an age of brokenness, loneliness, mistreat, refusal, calamity, and cessation, the faithful need spiritual fathers who go into the heart of the intersects of “peoples lives” to bind winds and who will stand fast with us in our darkest hours.
Men who are truly humble, contrite of mettle, and enlivened by a profound compassion of God and a desire to bring all people to Christ. These are the pastors who will help heal the Church and the culture. Thanks be to God for all of the clergymen previously answering this call.
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