We live in a relativistic world that believes that truth is relative and that each of us, individually, should respect the moral and theological choices of everyone else. It does seem counter-intuitive to me that there can be a Christianity reset and accommodation with the world that can embrace such a notion especially since choosing the Truth of Christ over the half-truths and lies of the world has always been a fundamental decision that each individual who has ever rejected the world and come to Christ had to wrestle with and then surrender or reject. It is a choice that is no different than the title of Cardinal Sarah’s book: God or Nothing which is a fundamental human choice.
The half-truths of this world I find much more harmful than the outright lies of this world. I say this, because the first is subtle and requires some amount of maturity to decipher but the second is an outright lie, usually so blatant and obvious, that even the uneducated can very often reject it with nothing other than common, natural sense which is instilled in everyone’s DNA. Though people would like to believe these lies and distortions of truth, there is still, to many individuals, something dreadfully wrong and lacking. It leaves one unsatisfied, unhappy and living a life where there is a void, a missing element, that can instill happiness and joy unbounded to the hearts of the individuals: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until if finds its rest in thee.”
So we negotiate with the world and end up looking not much different than the world and hide from the world the True Christ, in His fullness. For we would rather disguise Christ, like a Trojan Horse, to fool the enemy and gain entry into the world rather than offering to people a clear choice. For the Kingdom of God is not a half-way house that allows us to ‘claim’ a composite form of Christianity which requires nothing of the ‘believer.’ There is no requirement to ‘fully surrender’ to Him and instead of being King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He is now your best buddy who does not judge you or require that you abide by His Commandments; a love without sacrifice, a belief without responsibilities. It is the equivalent of the old saying of ‘having one’s cake and eating it too.’
The calls for such a Christianity come from those who make the argument that the world rejects the teachings of the Church and sees its teachings as oppressive, overbearing and unwelcoming to the sinner. I would respond that the ‘the World’ is more ideological and less homogenized in its beliefs. Of course the present world culture teaches a false gospel and entices us with lies and false love for the individual. However, I am convinced that individuals who are seduced by this message are miserable in the very depths of their souls and are looking for a clear choice between the present culture and the supernatural reality that Christ delivered to mankind. Given this choice, when the Holy Spirit condemns them in the hollowness of their lives, they will make a choice, if there is a choice available to them. They have tired of being soothed and coddled, told that they are special in their own way when in their heart of hearts they know that this is a lie and that an alternative to this false love must exist somewhere if there is any Truth at all; a choice that is all but being lost in our mimicry of the pagan culture of self-love, self-esteem and their assurance that there are no changes that necessitate a change in the way we lead our lives. All is well and in fact if Christianity would only quit teaching about sin then perhaps Christianity would be more welcoming and acceptable to the minds and hearts of those who are thoroughly indoctrinated into the present culture of self absorption licentiousness without shame or conscience.
For 50 years we have moved in this direction and have found it not to be the ‘choice’ that people stuck in the malaise of a worldwide love-in are looking for. And the diocese’s that rejected taking this direction are flourishing. So we get the, to be expected, lectures that we simply haven’t been accommodating enough and loving enough to draw them to Christianity. In other words, if we do more of that which hasn’t worked so far, it is the fault of those who have not changed with the times that it is failing; though the statistics do not hold up to scrutiny. Perhaps we should change our doctrines themselves or make our moral truths into suggestions by using pastoral methods that defy the teachings themselves.
“Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today; and the same forever.” He has attracted followers who gave their lives for Him and for His Church for 2000 years; all drawn from the world. Do we have to dumb-down Christ or offer another Christ, more acceptable to the world, for our times? Or is Christ sufficient for us as He was from the beginning? You decide.