Saturday, May 2, 2015
Institutions have a bad press, and the multinationals probably more so. The Catholic Church seen only historically is the oldest and largest institution and multinational in the world. Depending on your viewpoint, one can see it as corrupt, the whore of Babylon, reason for our problems; the world would be better off without it. However, you have a smaller number who see the Church as a messenger of good news, at service to the world, presenting us with an ideal of beauty,goodness, truth and oneness for earthly life.
Since it is made up of humans and not angels it will have the faults that we all have: as humans have evolved so does the Church. To return to a time in history, and see the failings and shadows and not see it in context, and prefer to remain there instead of seeing the growth in the Church, and the wisdom gained from the failures is not altogether honest.
Even those who have great dislike for Catholicism in their moments of objectivity have to say that many of the things they consider precious have come from the Church. It has influenced much of what we now live and breathe, and we need not see it as anything other than a human institution. Of course, Catholics see it more than a human institution.
A Peace Weekly columnist reminds us of the English Labor Party's motto after the Second World War: to guarantee from cradle to death a minimum standard of living for all the citizens. They wanted to rid the citizens of their anxieties. Many other countries of the world had the same ideal, but we have still not seen the reality; it is a ideal that many harbor, whether facilitated by government or by society.
In a little different direction, the Church has a program from cradle to grave in helping one to open themselves to graces to live life fully in the here and now. We have the actions of Jesus in the Sacraments that accompany us from the cradle to the grave with many other helps to live a life full of meaning and joy. Excluding the material well being there is nothing like what the Catholic Church offers members of the community. Sadly, not even acknowledged by many who belong to the community.
In Korea only 20 percent are attending Mass on Sundays. Only 30 percent frequent the Sacraments. A lack of interest, busy in making a living, the attraction of material life and pleasure militates against wanting to be spiritually mature-- expense of church attendance can't be discounted. Temptations that keep one from living life more fully and opening ourselves to the graces that God wants to give to all.