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Defiance leads away from Christ

March 20, 2015
Mary McCurry
San Francisco

Like so many readers of Catholic San Francisco I was saddened but not surprised by the clamor of voices attacking our archbishop for doing exactly what a bishop is called to do: Teach and defend the Catholic faith and protect his flock from the tentacles of the evil one. From the local politicians to the secular press we have sadly come to expect this anti-Catholic/Christian/religion from a mindset that confuses freedom with unbridled license, diversity with indiscreet boundaries a liberal openness to intellectual pursuit that demonizes dissenters. But far worse than what we see coming from our secularized society is what is now appearing from within the mystical body of Christ, his church.

At a time when our holy mother church is being attacked on all fronts what value if any do our local priests or pastors see in publicly criticizing their bishop, their superior and fellow pastors. When Ignatius of Loyola wrote in the constitution for the new order he stressed absolute self-abnegation and obedience to pope and the superiors. That applies as much today as it did in 1540. God’s glory and beauty go beyond the magnificent structures and artistry of church buildings. His beauty can be seen in the order and harmony of his very body the church on earth. As consecrated vicars of Christ the bishops “take the place of Christ himself, teacher, shepherd and priest, and act as his representatives (in Eius persona agant)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1558). To lead people in defiance of the archbishop is to lead them away from Christ. Let us pray more earnestly for our priests, our archbishop and ourselves as we seek together to live in the truth and love that is Jesus Christ.

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