A more understanding, embracing, comforting Church
By Oscar V. Cruz
THE recently held Episcopal Synod – a fraternal meeting of Bishops chosen from all over the Catholic World formally summoned by the Pope in order to assist him in the exercise of his Papal Ministry – received a good amount of attention from the general public primarily because of the amiable personal traits and unique relational attributes of the good and kind Pope Francis. While the Church is founded by Christ, she is nevertheless governed by men of the cloth who are continuously in need of guidance in their task of giving ministerial service to all peoples all over the world in need and receptive thereof – not exclusively but specially those counted among her flock, irrespective of their race, color and tongue.
The said Synod was pastoral in intent and finality, fraternal in spirit and vision. It was meant for service to people – not in terms of official doctrinal pronouncements but rather in form of practical observances that are definitely not intended to censure but to embrace instead those veering away from her teachings, and possibly even leaving her fold behind. In other words, the Synod is intended to make the Church inclusive not exclusive, embracing not alienating, gathering not driving people away. In line with the vision and mission of the Holy Father himself, the Synod wants and envisions a Church that is kind not cruel, that is compassionate not ruthless. The Synod is envisioned to proclaim and affirm a Church that is wherefore more “understanding, comforting, and embracing” of people in general. Why? Because the Church is well aware of two basic over-all Commandments: “Love God”, and “Love your neighbor.” – neither one or the other but both of them inseparably together.
By the way, sure, there are dear and endearing, blessed and even saintly people in the Church – but there are also sinners in the fold. These too have to be attended and cared for in the Church. Sure, there are admirable and lovable individuals in the Church – but there are also erring persons among her members. These too have both the need and the right to be attended to and served by the Church. The truth of the matter is that more than proclaiming Saints, the Church is called and/or sent for the conversion of sinners.
By the way, who compose the Church thus addressed and enjoined by the Synod to be this more “understanding, comforting and embracing” of people who could have lost their sound moral value system, who could have thus turned their back to God and instead come to worship wealth, power, vice? The Church herein thus enjoined by the Synod are the Laity (98%), the men and women Religious (1%) and the Clergy (1%). Bonded together and working together, they make a formidable people the world over, to make their Church more “understanding, comforting and embracing” of those who for one reason or another have distanced themselves from the Church on account of their irregular living – keeping in mind that the Church is established by Christ more for those who sadly lost God in their earthly pilgrimage than those who have and hold on to God on their way to the hereafter and beyond.
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