Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On the local church

The GDC, at least those which we were able to cover so far, talks about the role of the universal Church vis-à-vis the task of educating the world to the faith. The precision of its goals, the spotless methodology it aims to use in carrying them out, and the boldness of the step it wishes to take to be able to concretize these ideals are just perfect. But inevitably, a sharp mind will have to question the do-ability of these measures, especially since, it’s such a humongous task!

My take—this is where the local church enters the scene.

As I write this reflection paper, our class in Catechetics has covered 232 articles of the General Directory for Catechesis, our textbook. The fifth part of the document talks about the dynamics of Catechesis taking place in the purview of the local church. And since it is a lot more specific, the mandate to catechize and evangelize is clearer. Hence, the familiar words like bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity are mentioned a number of times.

Precisely because the Church in Rome, with its omnipotence and all, does not know the varied nuances of catechists and catechumens from all over the globe. And since the varied local churches scattered all around the globe is, supposedly, more in touch with each of its ‘flock,’ they should be the ones to directly take charge of the catechetical activities taking place in their localities.

The Church is such a powerful organization. And it made me thinking, if we have this such immense stretched arm to evangelize people, we can do it. St. Paul was alone, to be accurate, he had with him some bunch of missionaries, but that was all. They did not have a website, or a TV station to help them spread their message. But they were able to do it. They preached to the gentiles, converted and baptized them.

The modern day Church ought to learn a thing or two from St. Paul. Or maybe, we just need to imbibe the passion that he had in proclaiming the Good News. Come to think of it, if we are convinced of the message we wish to impart, and the urgency it asks of us to proclaim it, we would surely act decisively in no time!

Let me end, borrowing a lengthy quote from Most Rev. Thomas Wenski is the bishop of Orlando, Florida.

“What do we do about it? Certainly better catechesis is needed; but Catholics do not live their faith merely as individuals but as members of a community. Parishes are key to reinforcing Catholic identity and providing a place where people can experience the distinctiveness of Catholic life. Parishes at their best can draw people into a Catholic ethos in a way that does convert them. Most parishes did that well up until the mid-20th century -- and many still do. If we want to stem the leakage from the Church -- and at the same time reach out to the unaffiliated -- parish life must be revitalized. As Pope John Paul II said in Novo Millennio Ineunte, the Church must be "the home and school of communion" where each member of Christ's faithful is valued and taken into account, and where each is aware of his or her active responsibility for living the faith.” -Why Are They Leaving? An InsideCatholic Symposium