Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
I'm a Catholic, and I am not going anywhere.
With some of my friends, family, and fellow travellers I have been discussing how a Catholic should respond and behave in these times.
These times? Well, yes. Whether you share their concerns, there are a number of good and faithful Catholics out there (myself among them) who are concerned with some of the things going on in the Church these days. Chief among these worries is the potential for, well, let's just say the potential for genuine problems in the Church following this October's Synod on the Family. Why are we concerned? Well, let's just say if the Church follows any of the suggestions of Cardinal Kasper, who gave the keynote at the preparatory meeting, the Church might undermine a doctrine that comes directly from the mouth of Our Lord.
So yes, there is genuine concern about that. And yes, there is concern about the message the world is receiving due to the Popes communication style. And no, those concerns are not all traditionalist hyperventilation. There have been too many follow up statements and such to think that it is all imaginary. So yes, there are concerns. This you all probably know.
What you don't know about so many of the people who have such concerns, is how genuinely concerned they are about how to behave during this period. I know, because I have these discussions with such people. There are some out there that I won't name, that spill many words on to the screen for no purpose other than to mock them. That's a shame really. If you heard some of the genuine pleas of the heart of these people, only the cruelest among us would continue to mock them.
I read a piece by Michelle Arnold at Catholic Answers trying to address people such as me, the "concerned." I think in the piece she oversimplifies and in part misunderstands the concerns of such people, but that's alright because in the end she gives one solid piece of advice I want to echo.
No matter what, stay Catholic.
No matter what happens during the Synod and no matter what gets said or not said during this Papacy (or any other), we must stay Catholic.
We are in the Church and we must never presume that we can reform it through some actions of ours. It is alright to point out folly to a reasonable degree, but we must always do so as loyal sons of the Church, for once you separate yourself, the divide usually only grows bigger.
I think of groups like the SSPX. Once upon a time, the SSPX were right in so many of the things they said and their retention of Catholic tradition was praiseworthy. But once they separated themselves, thinking somehow that they could reform the Church from the outside, the separation, for many, became their raison d'être. Separation is never the answer, that way is protestantism, pure and simple. Speak the truth always and speak it with clarity and in charity, but always do it from the inside. Always.
Speak out when necessary, yes, but we can't be scandal hunters either. We don't have to like everything, but we also shouldn't be looking for things not to like. And we also must face the fact that many well-meaning Catholics will not see things the same way, but they are not the enemy either.
If the Church is to suffer anew from errors in prudence as it has been suffering these last generations, we must suffer with Her. That is the only way.
We must pray for the Church and suffer for the Church, that is the only kind of reform that can work. The new sprintime is coming, of that I have no doubt. But it will be born of Christian suffering, not of protest.
As for me and my friends, whether you agree with us on everything or not, we are like you. We are Catholics and we are not going anywhere.