Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What is "Graduality"?

I have to admit I was a bit shocked by the refusal of Cardinal Marx to answer a simple question from the Catholic News Service about where we are going in this synodal search for pastoral solutions to problems which seem to challenge fundamental Church teaching not only on marriage and family, but on the nature of the human person.

If a person's life moves at 180 degrees from God's trajectory and plan for coming to know, love and serve Him in this life, so as to be happy with Him in the life to come, I can't quite figure out what is anything  "gradual" about that.

What is gradual about the rather common refusal to submit to the tribunal of the Sacrament of Penance and the repeated denial by many over the last 50 years, to accept the sound teaching that mortal sins are describable and confessable by kind, number and circumstance? There is no "graduality" if I am not seeking to respond to the call to conversion. Who are and how have dissenters been "gradually" coming to grips with the Papal teaching of Humanae vitae, showing itself ever more wise since 1968? Has the contraceptive mentality become any less anchored over the course of these decades and how many generations of late adolescents and young adults have been sacrificed to expediency or a stiff-necked cynicism which denies the cultivation of virtue its place in the life of youth? Who is leading them and where "gradually"?

In ordinary parlance, if I say I intend to humor someone, well, I do so with no illusion of winning that person over. Don't get me wrong! I find the resort to public lashings by so-called Cossacks among the anti-Ukrainian forces in the east of this country as something utterly bizzare, but teaching truth and precept, exhorting to do good and avoid evil is nowhere done with the lash in our Catholic world. It would seem rather to be our duty after the manner of Christ to insist, with every kind of teaching and never lose patience. To call a spade a spade, if you will...

Some rate at 40 years the story of neglect of proper catechesis within the Catholic Church. However many decades or generations it might be, "graduality" would lead us to be as candid with our interlocutors as Jesus was with the woman at the well. Her conversion was inspired by the God-Man who read her heart and opened her eyes to the truth of the Gospel.

 In speaking thus, as far as family and marriage go, I have not addressed the tragedy of domestic violence, issues related to drug abuse, alcoholism and mental illness. I am confident the Synodal Fathers will find ways to face these matters with renewed pastoral urgency. My difficulty is with "graduality", which does not address these problems in the least and bars the pathway to God by calling no one to pick up after a fall and get back on the pathway which leads to God.

1 comment:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.