Jesus said: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you’ (Jn 14:27). This is why the Church has never wished to be considered a philanthropic institution that suits the likes and dislikes of humans of every age, regardless of their moral practices and customs.
In the first paragraphs of Amoris Laetitia we encounter an affirmation that sets the entire gist of what Francis wishes to convey in this document: it is time to develop ‘various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching’ to ‘seek solutions better suited to its culture’ in family ministry.
“Do we love the Church as we love our mothers, also taking into account her defects?” This question proffered by Francis, reveals the high concept he has of the institution he governs. The defects of the Church? What is he referring to? Didn’t Saint Paul proclaim her to be “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27)?
Through the centuries, the Church has moved from triumph to triumph, though it continually endures attacks, persecutions and hatred from all quarters, all promoted by one leader: the infernal enemy who has the illusion of one day destroying it.
In this earthly life, everything is subject to time and passes away. All created things of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdom, inevitably come to an end.
‘This world needs an Ethos: this global society does not need a single religion nor a single ideology, but rather, norms, values, ideals and uniform, unitive goals’ (Hans Küng).
“Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!” These were the last words pronounced by Madame Roland, one of the vital participants of the French Revolution, before she lay her head on the block to be guillotined.
By instituting ordained ministers in his Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ inaugurated “the most elevated dignity among all of the hierarchies of the earth”, a new category of men called to actuate in persona Christi, in order to dispense the treasures of the redemption to sinful humanity, as authentic mediators between heaven and earth. These men chosen by Christ himself are participants of the authority with which He forms, sanctifies and rules his Mystical Body, and their dignity is even greater than the angels.
‘The sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice’ (Jn 10:4). The suggestive imagery of the shepherd with his flock is almost a synonym of the Episcopal ministry in the Church.
Perusing the pages of human history, and comparing ages long past, peoples distant from one another, and the most different cultures, we notice one common denominator: the presence of egoism, power struggles, greed and all the other vices related to pride. It is not surprising, since our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into the trap of the evil one, thinking that by their disobedience they would become ‘like gods’ (cf Gen 3:5).