The Most Astonishing Hypocrite In Church History is on record with saying that the Church is not a glorified NGO.
Unsurprisingly by such a circus tool, a glorified NGO seems to be exactly the vision he has of the Church: an organisation in which everything – from his homilies and off-the-cuff blatherings to his foreign travels to his verbous documents and interviews – is meant to trumpet the Church as the Force For Social Advancement, whilst the concept of salvation is dismissed as automatic achievement and, therefore, largely irrelevant as is repentance, conversion, & Co.
This NGO mania is so advanced, that the Church administration should now be reorganised to better serve the purpose. One is truly reminded of those Multinationals' restructuring at the core of which, they assure us, is the desire to be nearer the wishes and thinking – and purses – of the customer.
A “congregation for the Laity” should now be created. We already have, to my knowledge, a pontifical council with that name, but this here is clearly a promotion. Actually, I thought the Church Herself, and her organisation of bishops and priests and deacons, exists for the laity, so that the Congregation is a bit as if the British Government created a “ministry for the government”; but such are the times we live in.
This congregation would occupy itself with poverty, peace, justice and all the issues that sound so well in the ear of the world. It will be, so to speak, the spearhead of Pope Robin Hood. It will fill the void until now existing between papal rhetoric and papal administration.
I have no doubt the head of this new dicastery has been already selected by the Pope; and if he will not be one so utterly, as the Italians say, impresentabile as Maradiaga, it will probably be a slightly more presentable version of that unworthy prelate.
This will be a powerful man; at the centre of the attention, and rather well positioned to take Francis' place when he dies or resigns.
Say hello to “Glorified NGO”, then. In a world in which salvation is a given and giving public scandal is worthy of a Papal pat on the back, the only issues that count will be the exclusively worldly ones.
Let me stress it once again: this is The Most Astonishing Hypocrite In Church Hystory. He has, in fact, deserved an acronym just for him: TMAHICH.
A short twitter exchange (I generally don’t do that as I do not believe in back-and-forth that does not persuade anyone; but this was one of the rare exceptions) made me think of how many people have lost sight of the truly important things in life.
The most important – and after logical reflection, the only important – thing in life is Salvation.
Salvation is to do with infinity, and everything that is linked to this world is finite. The mathematical and logical consequence of this is that whether we like it or not, every earthly matter is infinitely small compared to Salvation. Easier to think than to practice perhaps, but still an irrefutable truth.
When we start to put ourselves – difficult as this may initially be – in the right perspective, we start to understand a couple of things better than we used to. Once again, whether we like it or not injustices, inequalities, abuses of all sorts are, in the very great scheme of things, almost utterly insignificant in themselves. Yes, they are! Better said, their true significance – that is, their relevance in the Great Scheme of Things – is of infinitely small significance. They are only important – nay, infinitely important – in what we make of them.
If injustices lead me to hate to the point of mortal sin, I have paid an infinitely great price for a matter which was, in itself, infinitely small in the infinite scheme of things. If I get through the injustices of this world using them as a means to obtain, one day, paradise, all the injustices of this world will, again, be one day infinitely small in comparison to the infinitely great prize they helped me to achieve. I know this is unpleasant to hear, and we want things to be put right in this life, possibly now. But that’s how it is.
This does mot mean, of course, that injustice and abuse must be accepted, or that – say – it is on the end irrelevant whether one dies a free man or gets to live in slavery. To strive for justice is highly commendable, and the beautiful Latin motto dulce et decorum est pro patria mori has through the ages lost nothing of his beautiful and powerfully consoling relevance.
What this means, though, is that a) the injustices and abuses of this world must never allow us to lose sight of the Infinitely Important Goal, and that b) every reasoning aimed at inverting the priorities (as in: it’s difficult to believe in Jesus when you are downtrodden, or I will believe in God only when I see the end of injustice/inequalities/gender discrimination/your favourite peeve) is illogical besides being self-defeating and potentially deadly for the soul.
The contrary is, I think, true. Injustices of all sorts allow us – at time, they force us – to see things sub specie aeternitatis, “under the aspect of eternity”; an exercise which, if we are honest with ourselves, we might never have started under less problematic life conditions.
If I think of my own life journey, the abuses and injustices I have gone through, and more in general the periods of crisis and affliction, were without the shadow of a doubt the periods of more marked spiritual growth; the moments where a spontaneous and utterly natural “why” makes place for more reflected, big-picture ” because”; a “because” I found utterly unsavoury at the moment, but which might in the end help me to reach a prize compared to which every suffering pales into distant insignificance; unless, of course, for the fact that it helped me to put an end to every suffering, and substitute it with eternal joy.
Like everyone else, I tend to lose sight of these in my eyes self-evident truths; and like everyone else I get so entangled in the darkness of this world that I struggle to see the light around the corner of this short and very impermanent existence. Other do probably even worse, and allow their rage or their grief to compromise or even destroy their faith, because… they are downtrodden, or other people are, or they have suffered a terrible bereavement or a huge injustice. And then they might well go to hell, and the spineless priest who tells them they are more or less justified in doing so might well keep them company.
What an infinitely expensive price to pay for something which – considered sub specie aeternitatis – can only be considered as utterly irrelevant.
No one wants to be oppressed. But it is important not to lose the perspective, and in the end the only perspective that counts is the eternal one.