July 21, 2019

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“Family is the building block of society.”

I lost count of how many times that kind of phrase was used in all the speeches I edited for the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. But it is not just a teaching of the Church. It is a basic human principle.

Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain, expressed the idea well:

“The family is the building block of society. It is a nursery, a school, a hospital, a leisure centre, a place of refuge and a place of rest. It encompasses the whole of the society. It fashions our beliefs; it is the preparation for the rest of our life.”

London Times, 26 May 1988

Some Christians, however, pick up the misguided notion along the way that having a family is what gives us value. Remember what St. Paul teaches the Corinthians in Chapter 7 of his epistle. Keep in mind Our Lord’s teaching about bringing division rather than peace (Luke 12,49-53), which subordinates our loyalty to family of origin under our loyalty to God. That said, although not everyone has a family, everyone is born of parents. But not everyone, sadly, grows up in a stable, happy family even though that definitely is what God wants for all of us.

The preparatory document for the upcoming Synod on the Church in the Amazon (6-27 October 2019) describes Amazonia as a place where “the native peoples have a rich tradition of social organization where authority is rotational.” That seems innocuous enough. The same document mentions first among its priorities “the possibility for all the baptized to participate in the Sunday Mass.” That also sounds nice.

It continues:

This gives way to an urgent need to evaluate and rethink the ministries that today are required to respond to the objectives of ‘a Church with an Amazonian face and a Church with a native face’. One priority is to specify the contents, methods, and attitudes necessary for an inculturated pastoral ministry capable of responding to the territory’s vast challenges. Another is to propose new ministries and services for the different pastoral agents, ones which correspond to activities and responsibilities within the community.”

When those entrusted with preparation of the Synod openly call for women to be ordained deacons and married men to be ordained priests... when the Vatican praises the work of Bishop Fritz Lobinger, who envisions even more… we need to pray for the family that Christ placed above even our own parents: the Body of Christ, the Church.

Pray and fast!

Fr. Christopher J. Pollard

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13,8)