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Excommunication is Pastoral

Brian Holdsworth

Support the channel by joining The Reinforcements at: https://brianholdsworth.ca Music written and generously provided by Paul Jernberg. Find out more about his work as a composer here: http://pauljernberg.com If, when I joined the Catholic Church some 15 years ago, it was in the state it is right now, I wonder if I would have had the fortitude to follow through on the research that led me to believe it was the Church that Jesus had founded 2000 years ago. When I was learning about the Church, podcasts and YouTube channels weren't really a thing yet, so I had to rely more on books, but if I was learning about it today, I would almost certainly be relying on those things to some degree and what I would find there is a Church characterized by a lot of anger, vitriol, and infighting, rather than a Church that exemplified the unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17. And of course, just this past week, we had a dramatic display of division and contempt for the authority of the magisterium and tradition of the Church as Catholic clergy in Germany went against the explicit commands of the Pope regarding blessings for non-married "lovers". And so far, there hasn't been much indication that there will be any consequence from those with the authority to do so. And so it's had me thinking, what is the root cause of all this chaos - and a couple of fairly obvious analogies came to mind for me because the Church is often portrayed, especially in scripture, in language analogous to a family and a flock of sheep. Drawing from those analogies, what we have going on in the Church today is one in which the children or the flock have been poisoned against each other and are fighting each other as well as their parents or their shepherds. Well, as a father to children myself, if my children were stuck in a relentless pattern of conflict which had grown beyond dispute into something more contemptuous like hatred, then the blame, I think, would have to land squarely and justly on my shoulders as their father. Because kids do fight and they don't have many ways to resolve those fights. We always teach our kids to speak kindly to each other and respond with words in a respectful manner, but if one or both is refusing to do that, then for the sake of the good of the belligerents as well as the whole family, there needs to be some mechanism to correct the combatants. There needs to be a higher authority with the power to exercise discipline and restraint on whoever has lost their good senses. In other words, they need to have a parent step in and resolve it through the appropriate application of their authority. And without the ability to take things to a higher authority, the nature of their conflict will only devolve into something far more insidious. And that's obvious, because they don't have anything else available to them to resolve it in a good way. Children should not be solely responsible for resolving their own conflicts. Parents have a duty to step in from time to time to help them come to a just and loving resolution. Without that intervention, the family dynamic becomes poisonous. It becomes something like the Lord of the Flies where the children assume a distorted role of parent. And something like that is going on in the Church today. We have elements within the Church acting out in extremely damaging ways and our Fathers refuse to discipline them. And without that discipline taking place, the children are left to simply fight it out with little hope of resolution. When high profile politicians or members of society call themselves Catholic while behaving and espousing beliefs that violently oppose the good teachings of the Church, that can't stand. That has to be addressed. It's scandalous and it imperils souls. We talk about not using excommunication anymore because it isn't pastoral. Well, letting people slip away from the faith and lose their souls while thinking they're in good standing with God and the Church, is the absolute least pastoral thing the Church could do. Excommunication is a way of telling a person something that is already true - that they've departed company with the flock and they need to make amends to live back within the protection and love of the community. If one of my children is behaving in a way that distorts the love of our family community, then we remove them from that context for a time. We send them to their room or give them a timeout until they are ready to be reconciled and not a second before they offer their contrition. The bishops need to understand that their role is that of a father. They aren't just teachers and administrators of the sacraments. They are there to discipline and resolve conflicts as well as Matthew 18:17 reminds us, and the longer they refuse to act in that capacity, the more toxic things will become. Read the whole transcript at: https://brianholdsworth.ca

Excommunication is Pastoral

Excommunication is Pastoral
Excommunication is Pastoral

Brian Holdsworth

Support the channel by joining The Reinforcements at: https://brianholdsworth.ca Music written and generously provided by Paul Jernberg. Find out more about his work as a composer here: http://pauljernberg.com If, when I joined the Catholic Church some 15 years ago, it was in the state it is right now, I wonder if I would have had the fortitude to follow through on the research that led me to believe it was the Church that Jesus had founded 2000 years ago. When I was learning about the Church, podcasts and YouTube channels weren't really a thing yet, so I had to rely more on books, but if I was learning about it today, I would almost certainly be relying on those things to some degree and what I would find there is a Church characterized by a lot of anger, vitriol, and infighting, rather than a Church that exemplified the unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17. And of course, just this past week, we had a dramatic display of division and contempt for the authority of the magisterium and tradition of the Church as Catholic clergy in Germany went against the explicit commands of the Pope regarding blessings for non-married "lovers". And so far, there hasn't been much indication that there will be any consequence from those with the authority to do so. And so it's had me thinking, what is the root cause of all this chaos - and a couple of fairly obvious analogies came to mind for me because the Church is often portrayed, especially in scripture, in language analogous to a family and a flock of sheep. Drawing from those analogies, what we have going on in the Church today is one in which the children or the flock have been poisoned against each other and are fighting each other as well as their parents or their shepherds. Well, as a father to children myself, if my children were stuck in a relentless pattern of conflict which had grown beyond dispute into something more contemptuous like hatred, then the blame, I think, would have to land squarely and justly on my shoulders as their father. Because kids do fight and they don't have many ways to resolve those fights. We always teach our kids to speak kindly to each other and respond with words in a respectful manner, but if one or both is refusing to do that, then for the sake of the good of the belligerents as well as the whole family, there needs to be some mechanism to correct the combatants. There needs to be a higher authority with the power to exercise discipline and restraint on whoever has lost their good senses. In other words, they need to have a parent step in and resolve it through the appropriate application of their authority. And without the ability to take things to a higher authority, the nature of their conflict will only devolve into something far more insidious. And that's obvious, because they don't have anything else available to them to resolve it in a good way. Children should not be solely responsible for resolving their own conflicts. Parents have a duty to step in from time to time to help them come to a just and loving resolution. Without that intervention, the family dynamic becomes poisonous. It becomes something like the Lord of the Flies where the children assume a distorted role of parent. And something like that is going on in the Church today. We have elements within the Church acting out in extremely damaging ways and our Fathers refuse to discipline them. And without that discipline taking place, the children are left to simply fight it out with little hope of resolution. When high profile politicians or members of society call themselves Catholic while behaving and espousing beliefs that violently oppose the good teachings of the Church, that can't stand. That has to be addressed. It's scandalous and it imperils souls. We talk about not using excommunication anymore because it isn't pastoral. Well, letting people slip away from the faith and lose their souls while thinking they're in good standing with God and the Church, is the absolute least pastoral thing the Church could do. Excommunication is a way of telling a person something that is already true - that they've departed company with the flock and they need to make amends to live back within the protection and love of the community. If one of my children is behaving in a way that distorts the love of our family community, then we remove them from that context for a time. We send them to their room or give them a timeout until they are ready to be reconciled and not a second before they offer their contrition. The bishops need to understand that their role is that of a father. They aren't just teachers and administrators of the sacraments. They are there to discipline and resolve conflicts as well as Matthew 18:17 reminds us, and the longer they refuse to act in that capacity, the more toxic things will become. Read the whole transcript at: https://brianholdsworth.ca