Shining the LIGHT on the Synod

October 20, 2015 09:00 AM

It boggles the mind to read the recent reports about Chicago’s archbishop Blase Cupich and his apparent support for giving the body and blood of Christ to divorced and remarried Catholics as well as homosexual couples.

During a news conference with members of the media, Cupich addressed the question of Holy Eucharist for same-sex and divorced and remarried couples saying, “I think that it’s for everybody. . . . I think we have to make sure that we don’t pigeonhole one group as though they’re not part of the human family, so there’s a different set of rules for them. That would be, I think, a big mistake.”

The “it” to which the bishop refers is of course the body and blood of Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. The teachings of the Church on the question regarding who is eligible to receive this sacrament have not been—and are not now—debatable. It is not about “rules” for some and not for others, but rather the doctrine that establishes what we Catholics have to do and not do in order to be worthy to receive the sacrament.

But then again, as Church history makes clear, there has been betrayal of Catholic doctrine since the Church’s founding. Just think about the actions of Judas Iscariot and his kiss of death to the cheek of Jesus Christ and you understand. Following that awful moment, Judas fell into despair; and we remember the fate that befell him. Evil always has a way of destroying the souls of those who embrace it.

By contrast, of course, we do see courageous bishops. For example, Newark, New Jersey, archbishop John Myers, whose defense of Christ in the Eucharist is to be applauded, has shone the light to his priests and his flock. MyersPrinciples to Aid in Preserving and Protecting the Catholic Faith in the Midst of an Increasingly Secular Culture gives “his priests strict guidelines on refusing Communion to Catholics who, for example, support gay marriage or whose own marriage is not valid in the eyes of the church.” In an e-mail to Religious News, James Goodness, a spokesman for the archbishop, wrote, “With so much being generated in the media with regard to issues like same-sex unions and such, this memo about ensuring that Catholic teaching is adhered to in all situations—especially with regard to the use of diocesan properties and facilities—seemed appropriate.”

We applaud Archbishop Myers for standing in the gap and articulating Catholic teaching that cannot be changed, not even by the whims of Cupich or the German cardinal Reinhard Marx. Truth does not cave in at the altar of political correctness.

Attending the synod in Rome, Charles Chaput, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, wrote in his weekly column that “the Church can be truthful without being merciful. But she can’t be merciful without being truthful.” He further stated, “Truth without compassion wounds and repels; mercy without truth is a comfortable form of lying.”

And thus we understand: The synod has a week left before it disbands and the attendees return to their respective nations. When all is said and done, Pope Francis alone will issue the final document, not a committee, and we should diligently pray for him.

The emergence of so many heroic bishops and priests of late and the media efforts to elevate the dissenters while ignoring the heroes reminded me of a profound insight offered by Pope Benedict XVI in the encyclical Deus Caritas Est. He teaches that we are called to be consistently faithful, humble servants to Christ:

Faith, hope and charity go together. Hope is practiced through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God’s mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness. Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! It thus transforms our impatience and our doubts into the sure hope that God holds the world in his hands and that, as the dramatic imagery of the end of the Book of Revelation points out, in spite of all darkness he ultimately triumphs in glory. Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. Love is the light—and in the end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working. Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God.

The LIGHT that shines every day, synod or no synod, is Christ. In Him we find peace, we surrender doubt, and we humbly express our gratitude for truth.

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