We have a great group of readers at YIM Catholic, many of whom have been offering excellent comments. It seems only right to highlight some of these. This week, we'll showcase a comment by James, written in response to a post about a woman who has fallen away from the Church. The woman told us that this was largely because of what she considered poor pastoral advice in the wake of Vatican II. In his comment James wrote:
There must be hundreds of thousands of lapsed and non practicing Catholics out there, but of course the front door is always open in welcome for them. The dynamic is extremely complex. Not to oversimplify but in a case such as Rosa's (with details understandingly few), where bad advice seems to be the primary cause, I'd respond that one should go to a priest for spiritual matters and guidance but look for advice on corporal affairs elsewhere. If I need legal advice I go to a lawyer, marital advice a trained and licensed counselor and so forth.
The Church today (and I've been thinking about this a lot recently) is still and will continue to be in a great deal of upheaval from Vatican II. I think that the dust has yet to settle and it will be some time before it does. I'm not questioning the wisdom of the Church Fathers, but the transition was for many a traumatic and somewhat ham-fisted one. Previous to the Council, I was an altar and choir boy at a diocesan cathedral and there was no priest or religious shortage then and there were more masses which were mostly filled. How that's changed!
The second half of the 20th century has been an incredible challenge for the Church, and I spent nearly two decades adrift, but in returning I discovered that the baby was not thrown out with the bath and that the Faith, the Sacraments, the Creed, and all that is the essence of Catholicism remains—and that is what is important. Virulent anti-catholicism fueled by a perceived post–Vatican II watering down of values—followed by the nightmare scandals of the past 15 years—serves as a roadblock to those who can't see beyond it to what is really important: the Faith, the Hope, and the Way as entrusted to the Apostles with Peter as leader. Christ was perfect, but His Church comprised of us is imminently human and as such will always be subject to human failings. So while the one, true, holy, and apostolic church will change in form and suffer from human shortcomings, it is constant and unchanging in substance, and for me that is a source of gratitude and joy.
It is not easy being Catholic, and it requires not only an act of faith but of will. I believe that as the pendulum begins to swing back to the middle, there will be a return of some souls to the Church and will certainly pray for this.