The troubling thing many catholics don't realise is how much God loves the world... And if we truly believe in the 4 last things, we would understand why things happen as they do.
To disregard a pandemic as just nature... is in a way disregarding God.
God wants the world to turn to Him. Not because He needs us, because the world will be lost without God.
God wants to save the world... and it is sad that many Catholics believe that their non Catholic friends and neighbours, don't need to be Catholics.
Worst is when shepherds don't believe this, or don't have the zeal of charity to share the Good News, so that others may share it also... Will it be back to business as normal?
The absolute worst thing that could ever happen in this world, is not turning to Christ.
For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16
(Catholic Conference Centre: Catholic Mass arrangement removed and covered-up, for Buddhist worship.)
As Catholics is it acceptable to accommodate other faiths as we do with our own faith - to treat our Faith as the same as other faiths? To make this point clear, we should ask ourselves, what is the purpose of our faith? To save our own soul, and to save other souls.
WITNESS was made aware of a Catholic conference centre where Mass is celebrated on a regular basis. Only recent the centre has allowed Buddhists to use the facilities for worship. After talking with a few members of the Catholic community, it becomes apparent that this news, was quite common knowledge. The majority did not seem to agree with this - that this was their place of worship, not other faiths. While the minority took the impression that it "pays the bills", and that the priest in charge can do as he see fit. It must be noted that the whole property was purchased and built by the Catholic community through their generous donations. While dialogue will be likely needed for a positive outcome for this Catholic community. Let's leave that up to the shepherd and his sheep..
Having said that, what are the broader implications? The following Latin maxim tells us how we do one thing, affects how we do other things, and vice versa. So how we live, will actually effect how we believe, and how we worship...This applies also when we accommodate other faiths, the same way we accommodate our own Faith. It is like having one facility for two different sports. Sure they are different but maybe, just maybe, we'll try out the other sport and who knows we might even like it and never go back.
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi.
What about following.., what is the Gospel teaching us? How seriously do we follow it, and act on it?
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work."
As stated, at the heart of our Faith is to save our soul and the souls of others. Surely accomodating other faiths is not the way to go?
"There is nothing colder than a Christian who is not concerned for the salvation of souls."
Seriously - we are called to love our neighbour, but the real problem arises when we do not know our Faith enough, or we do not believe in our Faith enough, or even love our Faith enough to supersede other faiths and to actually love our neighbour. We want to save our own souls by doing good to our neighbours, but do we really want to save our neighbour's soul also?
Ad Orientem: Are we really waiting for Christ's return? Let's hope so...
Let's make a simple case for Ad Orientem, and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.
"For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be."
"Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life."
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;"
"Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks."
[Let us be honest: when we are eagerly waiting, we are more likely to be facing the door, than sitting together facing each other. This sense of eagerness for Christ to return should be most relevant at Mass than any other times in our daily lives; for we are together as part of the Mystical Body of Christ. So why does the priest and the people need to face each other and not to the east? Has our sense of eagerness been lost for Christ's return? ]
Catechism of the Catholic Church
III. CHRIST OFFERED HIMSELF TO HIS FATHER FOR OUR SINS
Christ's whole life is an offering to the Father
606 The Son of God, who came down "from heaven, not to do [his] own will, but the will of him who sent [him]",413 said on coming into the world, "Lo, I have come to do your will, O God." "And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."414 From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father's plan of divine salvation in his redemptive mission: "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work."415 The sacrifice of Jesus "for the sins of the whole world"416 expresses his loving communion with the Father. "The Father loves me, because I lay down my life", said the Lord, "[for] I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father."
[Yes - it's the offering of Christ TO the Father, NOT to us but for us. Notice with ad orientem we face "to" the Father (eastwards) not "to" the people. That is the focus - to the Father.
Too many people who do not like ad orientem say they want to see the priest, to see Christ. So if the priest is Christ would Christ not want to look to the Father? After all the offering is to the Father, not to us but for us.
So why is it not suitable for us to face along with Christ to the Father? Let us appreciate the Mass for what it really is - the offering of Christ to His Father, for our salvation. Appreciate the significance of Christ's love, His offering to His Father.]
If we are to wait, let us wait eagerly, and if we are to "look forward" (Nicene Creed), let us look forward to the east. If we are to celebrate Christ's glory, let it be the offering of Christ to His Father and not to us, but for us... Let us not look to each other but to the east, to the coming of Christ, to where God is.
For a very long time now the Catholic Church have chosen to go "soft" on the Catholic teachings in the hope it would not to offend anyone; That there was "no right or wrong answers"; that we have to be nice and get along while compromising our faith. Even now we are being told half truths and many fall for it. Like "the Church has the fullness of the truth" while implying it was "ok" to remain outside the Church, they just don't have the full truth; that there is even other paths to Heaven. Christ would not be pleased.
Due to the softness in the teaching of the faith, Catholics had to, or choose to make up their own beliefs and would consider it as being Catholic, since they are Catholics. They would also follow other Church leaders who they themselves do not follow Church teachings. Just take a look at the "Universal Church" today... unfortunately not so much.
How do we fix this, what can we do, or at the very least what can the individual do? When faced with uncertainty or peer pressure, or even if things sound to good to be truth... Please repeat after me: "What does the Church teach?"
Yes, what does the Church teach? We only need to look to the unchanging truth of the Church, it's tradition, what our saints have said and taught us. St Paul even said: "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter." ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:15
If we claim to be Catholics we must keep on turning to the truth of the Church... we must keep in the back of our minds... "What does the Church teach?"
Al: Catholic, learning and thankful.