Each of us shall give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12)
Lord Jesus came from heaven to equip us to face this, fearlessly. He set out over the hills in search of His lost sheep: me, you, us. He finds us, exhausted and disoriented, and He picks us up and puts us on His shoulders, to carry us home. His mercy means: We can give our account of ourselves to God from Jesus’ shoulders.
‘Yes, Father, I got lost. I had no hope. I had no right. Just irrational desperation.
‘But then Your Son put me on His shoulders, and here I am, ready to come to You. Even though I know I don’t deserve to be anywhere other than the nowhere to which I led my clueless self.’
The angels rejoice when Jesus puts us on His shoulders. When eternal, merciful, divine Love triumphs in human souls. When Judgment Day means Day of Rejoicing. Because the immortal Lamb went to the slaughter to save sinners.
Now, this whole mystery of salvation… Where is it? In the Mass. In the Scriptures. In the ministry of the Church.
The Savior founded His Church, to save sinners. At this point in time, it seems that His Church needs serious attention.
Everyone know who Father Tom Doyle is? A “priest with integrity,” according to the countless suffering people he has helped in his long, generous life. Father Doyle thinks we need to re-envision the Church as a kind of unstructured AA-meeting. And former-Father James Carroll wrote an essay this past summer advocating the same. Abolish the priesthood.
These men, and other scholars like them, have insights born of long experience with hypocrisy and victimization in the hierarchy of the Church. At this point, who trusts the “clerical establishment” anymore? The whole lumbering bureaucracy, made up of good men and bad, finds itself at an impasse, paralyzed, incapable of accomplishing anything to save the institution.
But even though Doyle and Carroll have their reasons for their proposal, how can we possibly have communion with God’s mercy, without a priest of Jesus Christ to minister it to us? Doyle and Carroll seem to imagine some ‘primitive state’ of the Church in which no one stood in Christ’s place at Mass. But you can’t even have a snap without a quarterback, much less gain any yards. There has never been Church without a priest, if by ‘priest’ we mean the man standing in the place of Jesus at Mass.
It is by the very teaching of the old-school Catholic religion that we know that things have gone wrong with the old-school Catholic religion. The good old days gave us clarity about good and evil. By that clarity, we see: the guardians of Tradition have governed the Church evilly.
We can’t pretend everything’s fine with the one institution qualified to give Jesus to the world. And we can’t build on any foundation other than the one Jesus laid. We have to face it: staying in communion with our Lord in His Church is going to get harder before it gets easier. But we know that His mercy endures forever.