Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin Israel! (Jeremiah 31:4)
Israel. The children of Abraham. The flock of God. The one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. One essential city reigns over Her, where the successor of St. Peter sits. Rome.
Who knows which church building actually houses the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome? What basilica holds the pope’s throne?
Correct. St. John Lateran. (Not St. Peter’s; that’s where Peter is buried.)
Anyway, 803 years ago, the pope had a nightmare that the building shook to its foundations. The church tottered on the point of collapse. But a poor man, an apostolic man, a man who owned nothing, but lived by pure faith—he stepped forward and bolstered the entire building on his shoulder. The “Atlas” of the Holy Church. Not a myth, but a real person.
Was it St. Francis? Or maybe it was the holy man who died 797 years ago today.
Both St. Dominic and St. Francis lived through the Fourth Lateran Council, when the pope had this nightmare.
That Council defined our doctrine regarding the transubstantiation of the Blessed Sacrament. It laid down the formal rule that everyone has to go to Confession at least once a year. It established procedures for heresy and other failures of discipline by priests. And bishops.
So we can confidently believe: Someone will come along to hold up the building. Yes: it totters on the brink of collapse. If we imagine that it doesn’t, we fool ourselves. The McCarrick scandal has revealed how dangerous our situation is: There’s no one around to lead us out of it.
But someone will come along. In Pope St. Innocent III’s time, many bishops were so worldly that he had to remind them not to bring their hunting dogs with them to the ecumenical council. Dream on, if you think we’re in better shape now.
But an apostolic man will come. Or two. God gave Francis and Dominic to the Church at the same time! The Lateran did not collapse.
McCarrick called us his “sons,” we whom he ordained. Makes me want to spit now.
But St. Dominic had, and has, real spiritual sons. His first maxim for them: “Give to others what you yourself have contemplated.” In other words: Live in the divine love yourselves. Then preach.
A man, or two, or three, who actually follows this, will come along and rescue, restore, and rebuild the tottering Church.