The Great Task of Centering Everything on Christ Again

June 11, 2018
A Maaloula, in Syria

The persecuted Christians in the Middle East today see jihadists profaning their churches, toppling altars, destroying crosses.

Meanwhile Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, rebels against the decision of the Bavarian government to place the crucifix in public institutions.

The cross for which Christians are suffering martyrdom in the Middle East is no longer at the center of life in the de-Christianized West. We see this, not as an anecdotal incident, but rather as the sign of an apostasy that is no longer silent but blatant—like the invective of Cardinal Marx.

That same prelate decided, along with the majority of the German bishops, that Protestants married to Catholics could receive Holy Communion. Seven of their confreres appealed the decision to Rome, asking whether it was possible in Germany to contradict the law of the Universal Church. Pope Francis informed them that he would not intervene in this debate—which in plain English means that he would not remind them of the Church’s law—and that the German bishops would have to find among themselves “a unanimous decision, if possible.”

Already with Amoris laetitia, the practice of communion for divorced-and-“remarried” persons was being promoted by the German and Argentine bishops, but not by the Polish bishops. How can this disparity within the Church be explained? The current Pope wants distributed authority, and even teaching that is somewhat liberated from Roman centralism. According to him, the unity of the Church is that of a polyhedron with various facets. A pluralist Church, proposing “unity in diversity” or “reconciled diversity.”

This decentralization shows that the cross is no longer at the center of it all. In order to please the modern world, out of “merciful” ecumenism, it is relegated to the background—like the tabernacles in many church buildings. Distributed authority and decentralized teaching are the signs of a Church that has been knocked off-center by aggiornamento, openness to modernity.

In combating modernism in the early twentieth century, Saint Pius X wanted everything to be “restored in Jesus Christ” and centered again on the cross, because “while the world turns, the cross remains.”

- Father Alain Lorans