2012-08-17                              John W        John W's previous articles

Navigation aids:  Scripture and the Poor

How to keep sailing the course mapped out by Vatican II,
 despite extreme winds from left and right

In his article Charism beyond borders Bishop Greg O'Kelly has the words

It is obvious that we live in a Church today in which there is some type of struggle going on, a clash of interpretations and movements. The fiftieth anniversary of the commencement of the second Vatican Council has brought this to the fore. The publications of the Right are evincing a new found glee, seeing the revival of former externals.

On the Right: an extreme conservative wind wanting to blow our boat back to the becalming out-of-date swamp of pre-1962

On the Left: an extreme liberal wind wanting to blow our boat into rapids where faith and morals are thrown overboard

How can we keep going on the course mapped out by Vatican II, despite these two powerful forces?

This is an issue not just for the Catholic Church. Other denominations, especially the Anglicans, are going through the same crisis...and are continuing to splinter into ever more extreme conservatives and ever more extreme liberals

Our Catholic sailing is made even more complicated by the fact that the Vatican captaincy is using all its energy and resources to persuade everyone to leave the course mapped out by Vatican II.  The Vatican is the Right

One way to maintain our course:  increase our love for the Scriptures and our love for the poor. These two loves help us sort out wheat from chaff, whether it's from the Left or Right.

Notice how the Right people are weak on walking the talk about help for the poor

Notice how the Left people are quick to jettison anything in the Scriptures that hampers their sailing style

Carmel Pilcher in her article The Shallow Quest for Gold applies the Scripture-Poor principle when she says

Where would Christ feel more at home in our nation right now?  Would it be with our successful mining magnates, our self made millionaires, our "aspiring" professionals on the way to financial success, or with the Warmun artists?  

To stop ourselves from being blown off course, the course laid out by Vatican II, let's rededicate ourselves to daily Scripture and to more service of the poor

Friendship with the poor keeps our feet on the ground.
Scripture-based spirituality keeps our hearts focused on God

For me personally, as I visit prisons five or more days of the week, and as I continue my work to make the Scriptures more easily understood (the Simple Bible project) I feel these two "loves" are like two strong outboard engines that keep me going .... with a determination that no matter what tangent others are going off at, to Right or Left, I'm going to keep following the course of Vatican II, which is the course of the Gospel, the course of the poor, the course of Jesus

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