"The house we hope to build is not for my generation but for yours. It is your future that matters. And I hope that when you are my age, you will be able to say as I have been able to say: We lived in freedom. We lived lives that were a statement, not an apology."

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Modernizing" the Church

I am no Catholic, but I could not help but get petulant when, in the context of the recent papal conclave, commentators throughout American media waxed sanctimoniously of the Catholic Church's need to "modernize".

The task now before the Church -- the Holy, (small "C") catholic church -- is the same one that has been before it since the Ascension: to preserve and promote truth, specifically that essential Truth that determines and gives meaning to human existence -- the Grace and Salvation provided by Christ's Death and Resurrection.

This Truth is not true in one period and untrue the next. It stands outside past, present, and future; outside antiquity, modernity, and futurity; outside of every temporal consideration altogether. It is transcendent. The Church was instituted by Christ to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". Outside of this the Church is without purpose. It is nothing.

It makes no logical sense then to say that an institution must change with the times when that institution's sole reason for being is to connect each passing life to the one Thing that stands outside of time and creation. Those who speak of the Church's need to "modernize" speak as if it is some brand that must continuously shift its meaning to gain a larger market share.

The Church is emphatically not this. It is the communion of saints, the promoting vehicle of the Gospel here on earth, the entity responsible for calling us from the finite to the infinite -- from this world to the "world without end."

No, the Church should not "modernize". It can't. The modern soon becomes the arcane. Always has, always will. Truth -- the Gospel -- stays the same. It is to the Church to seek, uphold, and promote It. It must do this in our present "modern" age and in all the modern ages to come.