Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Brothers and Sister
We are preparing for 40 Hours, beginning with Mass on Thursday at 8am and ending with Benediction on Friday at Midnight.
In Milan the Pope spoke about the place of the divorced and remarried and their place in the Church. I want to draw attention to the heroic role of those who live as "brother and sister", sharing a life together and yet refraining from sexual intercourse. Today, when the assumption is everyone is "at it" it is more difficult for them than in a less sexualised society these and those who come to Mass week by week and yet have remarried outside the Church and are unable to receive Holy Communion are so often living an heroic life. In spite of human weakness, and their inability to personally uphold the Lord's teaching about divorce and remarriage, in their own way the uphold his teaching.
The post-Concilliar Rites of Christian Inititation for Adults seems to envision a broader concept of what it means to be a Catholic, there are those in "full communion" but there also those who aspire to communion, like Catechumens, those whose lifestyle and desire makes them candidates for baptism and therefore Communion but then there are also those who are "enquirers" or "auditors", those who like the rich young man of the Gospels are genuinely interested but who cannot "go and sell everything you have and follow me", even so we are reminded, the Lord "looked at him and loved him".
After the "Donatist crisis" it is estimated that the vast majority of "Christians" in North Africa were not in "full communion" with the Church, either because they were not yet initiated or because having been initiated they had given in during the persecution. In Hyppo some authors suggest that it would have been as high as 80%. If we have RCIA it should follow that we some formal structure for penitents, for those who for various reasons are unable to be full, communicating members of the Church.