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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
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THE CHURCH IN HER POSITIVITY

Where did any of us receive our Faith if not from the Church? If that is the case we have to cultivate the eyes of love to understand the Church rightly. Without love we can see nothing positive apart from concentrating on dark little spots. Recently, there have been a lot of criticisms due to the revelations that a prominent U. S Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually abused and harassed his adult seminarians exposing egregious abuse of power on both sides of Atlantic; that "nuns too have been abused in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia, demonstrating that the problem is global and pervasive, thanks to the sisters' second-class status in the Church and their ingrained subservient" (Nicole Winfield and Rodney Muhumuza, Associate Press - AP). Surely, this news is damaging the image of the Church. But should the Church as a whole be condemned for good? It is important to acknowledge the blind spots and correct them accordingly, of which Pope Francis and other leaders of the Church do not take it for granted. However, the positivity of the Church should not be pushed aside because of all this. That will be lack of objectivity, lack of love for the Church which is not blind.

If anyone embarks on the adventure of love they have no need to shut their eyes to the darkness of scandals in the Church; but they will discover too that there is more to the Church than just dark spots. They will discover that besides the history of scandals in the Church there is a history too of liberating grace which throughout all the centuries has been kept fruitfully alive in major figures like Augustine, Benedict, Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Catherine of Siena, Ignatius of Loyola (whose Memorial we celebrate on July 31), Teresa of Avila, Vincent de Paul, John Bosco, John XXIII, Mother Teresa, John Paul II, Chiara Lubich and Jean Vanier. They will  find  that  the Church has carried down the corridors of history a lighted torch that can never be extinguished nor ignored.

Think too, besides the charity, of the civilisation and culture that Christianity initiated and the ideas of freedom and tolerance and human dignity and human rights that the Christian Church has promoted and defended. The beauty, likewise, that has been engendered at the impulse of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and which is still manifest today in many incomparable works of art, provides another witness to the truth.

Anything that is able to express itself so, cannot be wholly dark. The beauty of the great Cathedrals and medieval architecture, the beauty of the music such as Gregorian Chant that has grown up around the faith, the exquisite dignity of the church's liturgy, most of all the reality of festival - a reality that humanity cannot contrive for itself, but only be given - the transmutation of the year into the Christian Year, in which the past and the present, time and eternity intermingle, all of this cannot be merely a meaningless accident. Libraries, museums, even the origin of the university systems of the West can be traced to the Church of Rome. As St. Thomas Aquinas said: "Beauty is the radiance that shines out from truth. In culture, literature, art and learning, it is only fair to say that, despite some moral failures, the Roman Catholic Church has excelled. Indeed, what would this world have been without the Church?"

We can learn a lot from the following 'food for thought' on how many of us see and judge situations which we encounter from negative or subjective point of view out of little blind spots. "One day, a school teacher wrote on the board the following: 9x1=7; 9x2=18; 9x3=27; 9x4=36; 9x5=45; 9x6=54; 9x7=63; 9x8=72; 9x9=81; 9x10=90. When he was done, he looked back at the students and they were all laughing at him because of the first equation which was wrong. Then, the teacher said the following: 'I wrote the first equation wrong on purpose, because I wanted you to learn something important. This was for you to know how the world out there will TREAT you! You can see that I wrote the RIGHT thing nine times, but none of you congratulated me for it. But you all laughed and criticised me because of one wrong thing I did'" (from whatsApp). The world will never appreciate the good one does a million times, but will criticise the one wrong thing one does. The Church will continue to learn from the mistakes she does but also correct them accordingly; but will always rise above all criticisms in order to maintain her positivity in objectivity!

 


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