Church in the Pandemic

Church in Pandemic | Are we a church in crisis? What is the church in the pandemic? As a Christian what do you do in this time of confusion? Where can you find the truth? Here Father David talks about the church and how you can find strength in Christ. | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #pandemicandfaith Church in the Pandemic – Episode 33

Are we a church in crisis? What is the church in the pandemic? As a Christian what do you do in this time of confusion? Where can you find the truth? Here Father David talks about the church and how you can find strength in Christ.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

The Church in the Pandemic

Coming from the Temple: “…Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. (Ezekiel: 47: 8-9) Most Catholics living today struggle with what is happening in the Church. This stress and confusion has developed it into a Church in crisis. This is not something new caused by the pandemic; it has gradually been developing ever since the close of Vatican Council II. However, it has reached the level of a crescendo. Before the Council, most of us were content to live in a Church that viewed itself as an institution which dispenses the Sacraments. This view emphasized stability and external clarity. One writer stated in his book entitled, “The Models of the Church” That the main model of the Church should never be primarily viewed as an institution. It is true that the Church needs to be a visible organized structure existing in society, but there are other very important ways to view the Church. Since the close of the Council, a tremendous grace has been given for renewal and reform in the Catholic Church.

The change of focus has been a move away from the institutional model of the Church towards a “mystical communion” understanding. This approach would emphasize internal nature. In short, it may be called the Church as a Mystical Communion, which would highlight the inner work of grace in the power and activity of the Holy Spirit. In our Baptism of water, each one of us received the gift of the Divine Indwelling of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we all have the potential to live in a magnificent union of love and grace with each other. In the words of St. Paul, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? …for the temple of God, which you are, is holy. (1Cor 3: 16-17)

Can there be a church in the pandemic? Will it survive?

At the close of the Council, this Church’s Grace of Renewal began to manifest itself in various ways. The main experience focuses on interior transformation and the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This process of spiritual renewal has been occurring for over fifty years. However, in recent years the renewal of the Church has moved from spiritual renewal to reform. Reform basically deals with the structures, forms, or visible expressions of the Church. Reform always initiates a significant crisis. We human beings love the security of what we were born and raised with. What is unfortunate about reform is that it usually becomes messy, and things are changed too quickly, or changes are made that are unhealthy or sometimes destructive. It is not surprising that reform engenders a crisis of faith and calls forth the validity of truth. We usually do not enjoy this experience, for some of our closest friends think very differently about matters that are very important to us. This obviously puts a strain on our relationships. This volatile confrontation happened to Jesus. He went up to Jerusalem for Passover and went into the temple. He found that the central courts of the temple were desecrated with animals and money changers. Jesus took a whip of cords and made the money changers move everything out of the temple. He was confronted by the Scribes and Pharisees, who were financially profited from this enterprise. When asked by what authority do you do this, Jesus said “Zeal for my Father’s house will consume me”. Jesus then prophetically prophesied about his own body, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” (Jn. 2: 13-22) A classic example of confrontation when reform is at stake!

The infamous Pandemic that arose in our midst last February and March added significant stress and chaos to already pastorally charged issues in the life of the Church. Our leaders in the Church had to give a major amount of time and energy to work with civic leaders to try to bring this cultural crisis under control. This is not to obscure that there are already multiple uncomfortable issues and other events occurring in the life of the Catholic Church. The sexual abuse crisis since the last part of the twentieth century and the first twenty years in the twenty-first century has been a scandal in the Church that most Catholics who are alive today never had to deal with in their lives’. Much suffering has been experienced by all living in the Catholic Church at this time. In addition to these occurrences there arose in the Church a major conflict and disagreement between those who give a strong place to Church external law and traditional teaching matters and clear doctrines, and those who believe that the Church needs to reach out to the poor and disenfranchised. The present Pope’s care for creation and emphasis on socialism, plus statements made that are confusing and unclarified have added fuel to the fire. These differences have intensified an already unclear doctrinal mismatch.

Some might say the Church’s teaching already clearly exists in the New Catholic Catechism. It has been about forty years since it has been published. Realistically who has really read much of it or seriously studied it?  Teaching and pastoring go together. You cannot have one without the other! The last point that I want to make is this. I believe the lack of personal pastoring of the flock of Christ in the Church is itself a scandal. In these negative occurrences in society and in the Church, which has happened to the lay faithful. Our leadership, for the most part, has been silent, unavailable, or ignoring matters that needed good communication. I need not mention the difficulties the lay faithful have experienced since the close of the Council. I believe they are clear to anyone who gives a little time to think about what has been happening in the Church over the last sixty years or so. I also realize that it has been very difficult for our leaders for many reasons, and they may be working on many things of which I am unaware of. However, when the lay faithful go to youtube and talk shows to get an understanding of the crisis of truth and the teaching on faith, it is a sad day indeed in the pastoral life of the Church. American Catholics need clear upfront teaching on the five non-negotiables: Abortion, Euthanasia, or physician assisted suicide, Embryonic Stem-Cell Research, Human Cloning, Homosexual marriage. Is it possible that a written moral compendium or a pastoral letter by the USCB to the American Church might be helpful?

May we Pray!

We pray for light, wisdom, and understanding from the Holy Spirit at this challenging time in the Church and in the world. Dear Lord, we pray that each and every one of us will spend the time needed to reflect on oneself and ask the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to show what we can do to bring love and peace for those who have especially a hard time with what is currently happening. Give healing, truth, and a more profound faith to us as we continue the journey of this troubling age. We make these prayers in the heart of Mary given to her son Jesus. Amen

Comments

  1. Ruthayn Tickerhoof says

    It is true. Our bishops have not responded to the current problems and some have polities their opinions further dividing Catholics. I pray for pastoral bishops to be appointed to guide us and care for all Catholics.

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