German Catholic women, in thrall to the world, boycott Mass
This may be stating the obvious, but there is a great deal wrong with the widely-supported decision of German Catholic women’s groups to boycott Mass and refuse Church work in order to protest episcopal inaction on (a) sex abuse, and, wait for it, (b) women’s ordination. It is one more compelling indicator of how secularized Catholicism has become in Germany.
We have some experience with this sort of thing in the United States as well. There was a time, not too many years ago, when there were vigorous efforts among Catholics to mix the Catholic and the non-Catholic together in misguided efforts to “reform” the Church. That is still the case in some very bad dioceses and religious orders. But it has subsided significantly over the past generation. For example, we recently learned that one of the chief orchestrators of a false Catholic reform, Call to Action, has at long last fallen not only into irrelevance but into severe financial trouble.
Of course this was reported with real concern by the National Catholic Reporter, a newspaper which literally has no right to the name “Catholic”, but which continues to be funded. And I heard on the news today that an independent Catholic academy in the Archdiocese of Washington had, without consulting the diocese, decided it would begin to announce in its newsletter gay marriages among its former students along with sacramental marriages, in order to appear equally welcoming to all. So there is still a long way to go, here as elsewhere.
In any case, it is not hard to see the absurdity of the German Catholic women’s groups behind the boycott, which fails the Catholicity test on both doctrinal and spiritual grounds. First, to couple the abuse crisis with the failure of the Church to ordain women equates infidelity with fidelity. The first is a grave sin, rightly abhorred by all; the second is obedience to Christ Himself, who was not only sinless but transcended all cultural limitations in His perfect perception of reality. In fact, we might say that Christ IS reality. Consider St. Paul’s words:
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet…. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one. [1 Cor 15:22-28, emphasis added]
This doctrinal failure concerning ordination is itself at least an inadvertent rebellion against Christ, and therefore against reality. If willful, it would seem that the enemies to be put under Christ’s feet include certain women’s organizations in Germany—not that, as I have said, the Germans are unique in this distinction.
But the spiritual failure is even more serious, for it is one thing to misunderstand the nature of Catholic doctrine, but it is quite another to have so little appreciation for the Mass as to recommend it be boycotted until one’s desired reform program is implemented. Boycott the unbloody re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ for our salvation? Boycott the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ by which we are assimilated to the Son of God? Boycott the very sacrament that was given to bind the Church into one Body? Boycott the supreme source of grace and good available to us in this world? Boycott the source and summit of the Christian life?
Now of course these women would flock to Mass, without any valid sacramentality, if only the Mass had a female celebrant. Here we see the mocking evil of the whole program, the subordination of Father, Son and Holy Spirit to the will of those who would remake the Church in their own image. This is particularly ugly in women who would flee the nuptial call of Our Blessed Lord to His bridal Church. But the coupling of a legitimate cause (opposition to clerical abuse) with the subversion of grace (a boycott of the Mass) is ever the way of the world—and the most effective of all deceits.
The spirit of the world is Satan’s. To take an image from William Butler Yeats, this is one more glimpse of the rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born. Authentic renewal is not driven by ecclesiastical tinkering but by a burning thirst for Jesus Christ.
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