Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.The more I come to know and love the Catholic Church, the more I become aware of the deep crisis that the Church is undergoing. Sometimes I am so offended by what I see going on in the Church that I want to turn away, but in the words of St. Peter, "Lord, where shall I go?"
- John 6:67-71
I have come to an understanding that the Church -- like us -- has a body and a spirit. The body is imperfect and falls into temptation, but the spirit of the Church is the Holy Spirit itself. When the body allows itself to be guided by the Holy Spirit then the Church is a piece of Heaven here on Earth as Christ intended.
Thank God for the Pope who is doing everything humanly possible to guide the Church in the direction that God intends -- always with Divine assistance. Pray for the Pope.
The other day I was struck by some words from Pope Benedict about Judas. Perhaps I am reading too much into his words, but he seemed to have a message for those who dissent from Church teaching. Here are his words which are a reflection on the reaction of many of his disciples to Christ's teaching that He is the Bread of Life from John Chapter 6...
In the end, Jesus knew that even among the Twelve there was one who did not believe: Judas. Judas too could have left like the other disciples did; perhaps he should have left had he wanted to be honest. Instead he stayed with Jesus. He stayed not because of faith, not because of love, but with the secret plan to get back at the Master. Why? Because Judas felt that Jesus had betrayed him and he decided to betray Jesus in turn. Judas was a zealot and wanted a victorious Messiah who would lead a revolt against the Romans. Jesus frustrated these expectations. The problem is that Judas did not leave and his gravest fault was falsity, which is the sign of the devil. Because of this Jesus said to the Twelve: “One among you is a devil!” (John 6:70). Let us pray to the Virgin Mary, who helps us to believe in Jesus, as St. Peter did, to be ever more sincere with him and with everyone.Is the Pope asking the dissenters to leave the Church? Could he possibly be comparing their acts of treason with the betrayal of Jesus Christ?
This Saturday morning I went to Mass. There was a guest priest. I knew right at the beginning that I was not going to care very much for the manner that this priest said Mass. He announced his entrance with the words "ding-a-ling".
Mass is a solemn sacrifice. It is the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the altar. We participate in that sacrifice and it culminates with us eating his body and drinking his blood. Christ, the Son of God, sacrificed himself to wash away our sins. He took all our sins upon Himself and suffered so that we might not suffer. It is not just the physical suffering that he underwent, but imagine the spiritual suffering of bearing the sins of the world. His Resurrection is the triumph of God over sin.
Christ is present at Mass in the Eucharist. The priest is himself an alter Cristo. This is a heavy burden which cannot be taken lightly. The Catholic Mass is unlike the worship services of Protestants. We carry on the tradition of the Jewish Temple as Christ commanded us to do. We do not go to be preached at like a bunch of college students in a lecture room. Mass is other-wordly. It puts us in direct contact with Christ.
Perhaps it was indicative that the priest forgot to say the Agnus Dei. Has he forgotten that Christ is the Lamb of God that is sacrificed for us to take away our sins?
When the time came, I did not go up to receive communion.
At the conclusion of Mass the priest made a comment that he hoped that sometime in the near future women would be allowed to say Mass. I said out loud but in a low voice that I hoped that would never happen. The Pope has made it abundantly clear that to have women serving as priests is against Church teaching. Like Judas this priest has fallen into the trap of looking to the Church to satisfy his worldly ambitions.
So perhaps this priest should just leave the Church. If he were honest he would have to admit that at some point he stopped being a Catholic. How many more priests are there like him? How many nuns? How many lay people?