Dear Francis Christopher,
I can't help but feel that this has, along with other practices (altar girls, Charismatics, and more) caused me to wonder what is happening to the Church now. Couple that with the never ending streams of scandals, and I think it speaks for itself that many have left the Church as they were watching it give the store away.
In nomine Ieus I offer you continued peace Dismus,
I would say that it is often the perspective of the laity that 'the Church' is an external 'thing' in which 'they' participate. It's state is ultimately the responsibility of the clergy often described as 'them', thus (altar girls, Charismatics, homosexual Priests, etc) is ultimately a statement of 'them' whose responsibility it is to maintain 'the Church' so that 'they' can be proud participates in it's grace and virtue.
Truly, I believe such is the perspective of many in the West concerning a great many things. It is ultimately an afront to their egosÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š to be associated with anything which does not reflect their unblemished character. Such is hubris and reflective of just how far our culture has slipped from taking responsibility for itself and it's relationship with God through the institution of the Church.
In all honestly I have no 'real' concern with 'altar girls' nor 'Charismatics' whom are truly moved by the Holy Spirit but I do recognize that since Vatican II the laity have been confused by the sheer amount of change which the Roman Catholic Church has been involved with. So I can appreciate concern but what I don't appreciate is the lack of responsibility in which many stand in criticism to the state of the Church in the West.
Do 'we' practice our faith as we should? How often do we observe the Liturgy of the Hours, reflect on Scripture (Lectio Divina), confess our sins, invite the Parish Priest over for dinner with the family? All of these were common activities and many laity fail to live the faith in our century to it's fullest nor to even recognize their role in the life of the Church. If such is the state of the laity what state will one find the clergy from which they are drawn? Far too many believe 'sin' is 'out there' so they believe they can 'separate' from it by going someplace else which ultimately doesn't remind them of the real state they may find themselves. I have never accepted such a separatist viewpoint because I ultimately assume the worst sinner is right here in me. I start with me and ultimately I end with me.
What can 'I' do 'in the Church' to serve and make her shine as the vessel of grace I know her to be? How can I do that for her? By getting out of the way of Him for starters and letting Him work through me.
Our relationship with God is ultimately a personal one expressed through our life, a life as a member of the Church. A servant of the Body. In order to clean the house, we're bound to get dirty and all too often our egos won't let us do the real work of the spirit. I find that truly shameful.
You are right in saying I should be more charitable. I also think that it is impossible to be charitible watching your Church crumble.
Where one man is filled with the Holy Spirit there exists within him hope which can never be overcome. To live without hope within is to live without the Holy Spirit. Cling to Him and you will never be without 'real' hope in everything that you do. Amen.
So I guess the only answer is to give it to God as many will say right?
I'm not so sure.
Why can't Catholics be upset that this is happening?
Because such a response avoids taking responsibility. As long as one looks at the Church as an institution of 'them' we fail to grasp the unity of the Holy Spirit which makes us 'truly' one. Amen.
Sancte Francisce, Patriarcha pauperum, ora pro nobis.