The Pachamama and Joe Biden
The Catholic Church has been in a strange place recently—many traditionalist Catholics have been up in arms over Pope Francis’ acceptance of the “Pachamama” at the recent Amazon Synod, and although I think some of the issue has to do with misunderstanding and communication, I have to agree that it is unsettling. The Pachamama, as some know, is a statue that has been traditionally used as an idol and was recently thrown into the Tiber River by some incensed church members. The subsequent response of the Church has been cringe-worthy and upsetting to traditional believers, and many people are condemning Pope Francis for the way he has addressed this situation from the very beginning of the Synod. So let's talk about where we are as a Church.
It’s a difficult place to be in. While I am skeptical of the way things are being handled by the Pope, I am also hesitant to make certain assumptions about the situation or to point any fingers. From an outsiders point of view, I do not side with the Pope on this issue (it is strange and uncomfortable), but I will not condemn him either. It is not my, or anyone else’s, place to do so. So what should we do as a community of believers who are collectively afraid for the well-being of the Church? For one, I believe that we should start with looking at ourselves and seeing which things we must be fixed in our own hearts. In so far as the Body declines, do your part to be made right and it will effect the whole.
We need to be deep in prayer as well. It should be an inherent part of our entire existence. Pray your Rosary (at least once) daily. Say the Jesus Prayer every time you think to. Read your Bible and pray as Christ taught us to pray. Go to church. Live with charity in your heart and do not look down on others—rather see them as people made in the image of God. When confronted with sinfulness, be ready to stand against it, but be wise in your approach and do not lash out in anger. These things, more than arguing and posting about it on social media, will effect the spiritual welfare of Christ’s Body.
On a different note, we are seeing the strength of the Church coming into play with the recent news over the priest’s denial of the Eucharist to former Vice-President Joe Biden. As far as we know, it was Biden’s open support of pro-choice legislation that prevented him from receiving the Host. A great deal of anger has been stirred up by this particular event, especially by those who believe a great injustice has been done against Mr. Biden. Was this a political move? Only in so far as the party Biden supports goes against the teaching of the Church. Was this an allowable move? According to the canon law of the Church, yes. While some see this as problematic or political, people should see this denial as an action of love and not hate.
As long as Biden supports things that are forbidden by the Church, He will be in a place of grievous sin. To allow him to take the Eucharist in such a state is not only dangerous to his soul but says something about how the priest consecrating the Host views the sacrament. If this priest had simply offered the Host to a soul he knew to be in an improper state, he would have been doing something highly uncharitable. I cannot claim to know where the heart and mind of the priest were in that moment, but what I can say without doubt is that the action itself was both right and loving.
We must continue this conversation until people realize what we are saying: Tolerance is not loving. Turning a blind eye to an issue is not loving. Proper boundaries and limitations is loving, for it risks personal criticism for the sake of the other person's well-being. Every good parent has experienced this, and I do not think any of them have any regrets about guiding, disciplining, and limiting the actions of their children.
Indeed, the Catholic Church is in a strange place as it has been for a very long time. There are highs and lows, things that are agreeable and things that are questionable. What we need to remember is that Christ is on our side and will not let His Church fall beyond redemption. No matter what, we must remain in prayer and meditation for the revival of the Church.
________________________________ "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" Exodus 20:3
"You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" ~Matthew 7:5 "So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord." ~St Paul (1 Corinthians 11:27). "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." ~Ephesians 6:18