The challenges of today’s world for people of any faith seem to loom larger every day.
On a day when two mass murders in America occurred, reading an op ed in the Herald that denounced the decisions by the Bishop to perform acts of kindness and charity by the Catholic community in South Texas that are by definition illegal appeared to be out of sorts for me.
The stated purpose of the Catholic Church is to (1) Spread the Gospel of the Risen Christ to the far reaches of the world and (2) to be the Body of Christ on earth. As the Body of Christ on earth Catholics mean to be the implements of Christ’s love to others.
There are no national boundaries to the purpose of the Catholic Church. There is no evil intent or hidden agenda here. We are not judges. The very fact that the Church is undertaking these acts of kindness should be energizing to anyone, Catholic or other. The Body of Christ concept, if you know anything about it, is totally inclusive, not exclusive. It is a huge step in the right direction. In times like these, we can all use more love and forgiveness, perform acts of kindness and overcome the injustices in our world that we so often see but do nothing about.
Sixty years ago in Vatican II, the Catholic Church opened its eyes to a changing world in which they had to compete with many other organized religions for membership. Humanizing the Catholic religious experience, having the liturgy spoken in vernacular local languages throughout the world, promoting the idea that if we can somehow engage the world and culture with the truth of Christ, we can help renew both — freed up the Church to do more with the faith. It’s not a question of liberal or conservative — it is faith and Christian values.
Spitting vitriol about charitable acts foments the hate culture that is directly responsible for the senseless murders that seem to now take place every few days. If what the Church is doing at the border is illegal I can tell you that I am all for it. They are following their faith and doing God’s work. As Martin Luther King once stated “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (He was not a Catholic). I believe that the Bishop has thought this through and is prepared to defend these actions in the courts on moral grounds and are willing to suffer the consequences. In the Court of Public Opinion they cannot lose. They are doing the right thing. If they claim that they were unaware of the illegality of their actions, they will have to pay the price. Ignorance of the law is an invalid defense but in the eyes of the Church, ignorance is still not a sin.