Tuesday, 12 July 2016
down the pan
It is quite possible that I am now going to be guilty of taking an analogy too far, I certainly mean no disrespect by what I am about to say, so please don't think I am being disparaging....
The Church can be said to be the Bride of Christ or the Body of Christ. Personally I prefer the Bride of Christ, but in their espousal they are ONE so I don't suppose it matters much. For the purposes of this post, I'm looking at the Church as Body. If we look at the human body, there are certain organs and systems of organs with specific functions. We all have different functions within the one Body. St Paul returns to this theme time and time again, though he doesn't ever go as far as saying "you are the hands", or "you are the toe nails". Indeed such a thing would be silly and wrong, but I'm going to do it anyway.
Now all of us can at times be hands or feet, eyes and ears. If the twofold commandment to love God and neighbour is lived seriously then there are times for watching, times for hearing, and times for doing, we simply don't have one function. And Christ is our Head, and it is through not resisting grace that we function properly as the ONE body. The body is a UNITY; any division, any pulling in different directions, any opposition, any lack of harmony is not the work of the Head. The divisions are caused by absorbing and being influenced by things that are of the world. This holds true for us too; we are victims of fashion and victims of the culture we find ourselves in and more often than not it can have an effect on our health.
What is absorbed by the body is usually taken in by the mouth. We eat stuff and it passes down the digestive tract where in successive stages it is broken down, absorbed or excreted. Now, forgive me, but there does seem to be one part of the body that is analogous to the work of the Princes of the Church and one part that the rest of us simply don't have the authority to be. It seems abundantly clear to me that our Bishops in their capacity for binding and loosing are indeed the body's lower intestine and anal sphincter. They are the ultimate arbiters of what is rejected and what isn't. This is a role that the rest of us simply don't have. Could it be that bishops are at their most bishopy when they are doing just that? Could it be that that is when we ought to take the most notice of them, because they are doing something that is totally reserved for them alone?
I'll give you a question. Which of these carry the most weight; a bishop saying "lets look at this, lets absorb this information and work out what it means to us" OR "this is not going to happen because it might upset people" OR the bishops saying "this is part of the Church as revealed through Scripture and Tradition, has handed to us by the Apostles" OR "this must be rejected because it does not tie in with Scripture and Tradition and the first Apostles".
Surely it is the last two which are the triumph of our lower intestine and the strength of the Church Militant. Sadly, right now, I'm wondering if we've had a radical colostomy, as such no such unified behaviour seems to be forthcoming.