Re Fabiola Santiago’s Feb. 12 column, Vatican must modernize beyond opening a Twitter account: The Catholic and Apostolic Church has been around for more than 2,000 years. It has gone through many changes, both positive and negative. But the essence and cornerstone of the church, the basis for its existence and its moral grounds have been unchanging, irreproachable and infallible.
When we speak about the church, we are speaking of the mystical body of Christ, which, through its teachings, is infallible, yet it is run by men with a fallible nature.
Santiago proposes that the church morph into an entity that is agreeable to all. Yet, a reading of the Scripture shows that Jesus did not conform to the times. That is precisely why he was crucified. In reading the New Testament of the Bible, one can see how Jesus dealt with his disciples, their infallibilities and their lack of understanding. Yet he built a church to withstand time and attacks.
The church as a moral compass does not need to change its teachings. It might need to change some of its human aspects, but definitely not its essence. The essence of the church was instilled by Christ and has been held together by His Holy Spirit for more than two millennia in spite of us and a world that will use the least imperfection to demand changes that it neither understands nor wishes to understand.
It is interesting how the essence of the church is always questioned, yet few seem to realize that throughout time the church has stood against the world on issues such as the killing of unborn children or regimes such as Hitler’s. It has given up martyrs in concentration camps, such as Maximilian Kolbe, and the martyrs of the Cold War, who defied all odds in Communist countries to teach the gospel of the Lord. How about the new martyrs of the Africa continent who are brutalized by Muslims for exercising their love of God and church? These uncompromising men and women do not call out for frivolous changes; they are willing to die rather than compromise their beliefs.
Does the church need more accountability from its leaders? Yes, no arguments on that note. But accountability does not translate into recalibrating its moral compass.
The church is all-encompassing; we stretch our arms out to all who want to embrace the gospel of truth, including those who criticize the church. There are many baptized Catholics who might agree with Santiago. That is why churches that practice “Catholic lite” are a dime a dozen.
Nonetheless, the church keep its loving arms wide open for all: the sick, needy, downtrodden, the homeless, both physical and spiritual and, most important, those who would like to understand and embrace the essence its existence.
Efraín E. Sorá, Miami