I shall be grateful if you will allow me to express a certain anxiety at the way in which Catholics are being edged into positions which have no foundation in truth or charity. In much recent Cutholic writing. speaking and reporting there is so strong an emphasis on the human characteristics of the Church that her identity as the Mystical Body of Christ is being obscured.
Arising out of a laudable desire riot to give offence to non-Catholics. impressions may be given either that the Church is one of a number of purely human religious hodie.s, all more or less of equal standing and value. or that she is one rather large fragment of a divine society. crippled and broken, having ceased to exist in its original unity and needing to be pieced together again. These are purely Protestant conceptions and in either case martyrs and converts are equally stupid. More, Fisher and Campion might as well have died comfortably in their beds and Newman have ended his days at St. Mary's.
I am a convert. received fifty years ago. and I have the uncomfortable feeling that I ought to apologise to somebody for my behaviour. It would seem that nowadays conversion is a bit of a nuisance, tolerated hut not worked for. At the time of my own conversion, I had no doubt that I was moved by grace tO become a Catholic. It was the "otherness" of the Church that attracted me.
I saw a Body, presided over by Peter's successor. unique, given from above, infallible, with power to absolve and to offer sacrifice, with universal jurisdiction. sent to teach all men whatsoever, in the name of Christ and with His authority. I saw, that is, His Mystical Body. The word "submissioti' had no terrors for me; on the contrary it was a joyous word. Where there is no glad surrender there is no conversion. When a man sees the Church as I saw it he does not make terms or issue "legitimate demands".
I saw, and still see. that I had been a member of a purely human society created by act of Parliament. I entered. as I thought, a Divine Society, created by God. If I was mistaken, what do I do
now Return I cannot; I want no part of South Bank theology or morality, nor of any system which is powerless to eject them, But if I was NOT mistaken and the Catholic and Roman Church is indeed the Church of Christ, why may we not proulaim this truth to all men everywhere, in season and out'?
bor a Cardinal to describe a conference of non-Catholic organisation as a "Family Reunion" is hard enough to understand, but that a Catholic newspaper (not the Caeltoetc HFRAiD) should make a splash headline of the words, passes compt ehepsion.
That baptized individuals are our brothels, signed with the sign of Christ is true and should be proclaimed, but it should be made clear that this fact has no relevance to the authority or validity of the organisations which they have created. This has been stated clearly often enough in the past but it is being obscured in the present endeavour to please Protestant audiences. One prays that the Council will clarify the situation. but, as we are reminded by Dr. Kung. Councils do not always fulfil our hopes.
Macaulay says somewhere that it does not appear how the Catholic Church is likely to end. If it were, as he thought, a work of human policy it would surely end when it ceased to have faith in its unique vocation. This we know cannot happen, but there may he much confusion, both within and without, if clarity of vision is lost for any considerable time. That, it appears to me, is the present danger.