■ NCRegister ■ There is a familiar path trod by those who would like to see the Catholic Church change her teaching. It is born of the contention that teaching from 2,000 years ago can’t possibly be relevant to the current culture.
We saw it after the Second Vatican Council, where those who wanted to change the way the Church understands herself and relates to the world erroneously interpreted the Council’s documents as a rupture from the Church’s Tradition. Now, a false “spirit of Vatican II” clouds the proper celebration of liturgy, evangelization and even the very authority of the Church in proclaiming truth.
We saw it in the wake of Pope St. Paul VI’s prophetic 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which came too late to stop those who used the Pope’s years of deliberation on the issue of birth control to push the incorrect belief that the Catholic Church was going to change its teaching on contraception. Now, a great number of Catholics are so poorly formed that many don’t see the objective sinfulness of contraception, in vitro fertilization and even abortion.
With the Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazon Region now in full swing at the Vatican, those who are seeking to alter Church teaching in the areas of priestly celibacy, inculturation and the theology of salvation have been pushing their narrative for a full year before the start of the meeting.
Thankfully, Pope Francis has stated that he will not alter the discipline of the married priesthood in the Latin Rite or priestly celibacy. The bigger danger, however, is the idea promoted by the synod’s working document that certain individuals or peoples are excused from needing the Church’s saving grace.
There is a real, dire pastoral need to reach the remote, disconnected people of the Pan-Amazon region, a vast area where thousands of people can be reached only with difficulty. But we must reach them with the Good News of Jesus Christ, not a watering down of the Gospel. We all are in need of redemption, and, thanks be to God, through the Church, we find Jesus, who is the “same, yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Join me in praying that the members of the synod keep this in the forefront of their minds.
Instead of yielding to those who wish to pursue yet another dead-end trail, the Church can and must take this powerful opportunity to fortify the people of the Pan-Amazon region with the timeless truth of Jesus Christ.