Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Church of the People or of the Pure

Both realities are ever present in the Church, and just as the bishops of our country begin to publically counsel Catholics in the public square who are advocating positions not in conformity with Church teaching, to repent and return to conformity; the bishops in some Latin American countries are bringing children of fallen away Catholics to baptism, as reported in this article from Chiesa; sound reasoning in both cases.

The Catholic Church is a Universal Church, and it is to the sinners Christ came, and are not we all such.

An excerpt from Chiesa.

“Cardinal Bergoglio and other bishops are ordering that baptism not be withheld from those who are far removed from religious practice. Better a Church of the people than one only of the pure. Ratzinger also thinks this way.

“ROME, November 30, 2009 – Two days ago, Benedict XVI received the president of Argentina, Cristina Fern├índez de Kirchner, and of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, who arrived with their respective delegations to thank the Holy See for the peaceful solution arranged twenty-five years ago by Vatican diplomacy to the territorial dispute between the two countries about sovereignty over the islands south of the Beagle Channel.

“Argentina and Chile, together with Colombia, are the nations in South America in which the Catholic Church is most firmly planted.

“But they are also the ones in which the challenge of secularization is most relentless: in mentality, in customs, and in legal norms. On November 13, a judge in Buenos Aires authorized a "marriage" between persons of the same sex, declaring the articles of the civil code outlawing it unconstitutional. The chief of government of Buenos Aires has taken the side of the judge. And this has provoked a vigorous reaction from the archbishop of the city, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who is also president of the Argentine bishops' conference, a person much loved and respected.

“The Church's response to the challenge of secularization is a decisive test for verifying the success or failure of the pastoral guidelines elaborated for the subcontinent by the meeting of Latin American bishops' conferences held in 2007 in Aparecida.

“Secularization, in fact, erodes what is a typical characteristic of the Catholic Church in these countries: that of being a Church of the people, with the family as the foundational structure and with the baptism of children as a general practice.

“In some parts of Europe, baptizing a child has already become the exception, requiring an unconventional decision. But now, the number of unbaptized infants, children, young people, adults is also rising in Argentina.

“This decline in the practice of baptism is the result of a weakening of family ties and a withdrawal from the Church. Some of the clergy have drawn this conclusion: where they see the signs of faith being extinguished, they maintain that it is right to decline to administer the sacraments.

“But in Argentina today, the Church authorities are moving in the opposite direction.

“Already in 2002, the archdiocese of Buenos Aires and the diocese in the surrounding area had published an instruction urgently recommending the baptism of both children and adults, and explaining how to overcome resistance to the celebration of the rite.

“But now the bishops of the area have returned to the task with a booklet entitled "El bautismo en clave misionera," which reproduces the 2002 instruction and supplements it with other guidelines for parish pastors.

“So beginning this year, the most conscientious pastors are regularly holding "baptism days," on which they administer the sacrament to children and adults in situations of poverty or with broken families, who have been helped to overcome their own uncertainties and those of the people around them.

“Cardinal Bergoglio has explained the meaning of all this in an interview with the international magazine "30 Days":

"The child has no responsibility for the condition of his parents' marriage. The baptism of children can, on the contrary, become a new beginning for the parents. A while ago, I baptized the seven children of one woman, a poor widow who works as a maid and had her children by two different men. I met her on the feast of Saint Cajetan. She said to me, 'Father, I am in mortal sin, I have seven children and have never had them baptized, I don't have the money for the godparents and for the party... I saw her again and after a little catechesis I baptized them in the chapel of the archepiscopal residence. The woman said to me, 'Father, I can't believe it, you make me feel important'. I said to her, 'But madam, what do I have to do with it? It's Jesus who makes you important."