Communion must be fostered and expressed also in the manner in which we relate to one another. While the explosion of so-called “new media” has revolutionized human communication and offers many opportunities for advancing the New Evangelization, blogs especially have a way of promoting un-reflected speech. Judgment and criticism are certainly not bad things in themselves, but The Call to Communion: Anglicanorum coetibus and Ecclesial Unity | Feb. 2, 2013 7 when opinions are advanced on an internet forum unbridled from charity or an adequate knowledge of the facts, they can undermine the very foundation of ecclesial communion which is love.
Again, the Church is watching what we are building here in the Personal Ordinariates. The
openness of the wider Catholic community to the rich Anglican patrimony which you bring will be encouraged when they experience in your communities the joyful and peaceful embrace of our common faith. Constructing a culture of communion will require wisdom, humility, and a firmness of intention to avoid divisiveness. In a world marked by division and discord, a culture of communion can be an especially eloquent witness to the truth of our faith and in fidelity to our Lords prayer “that they might be one.” I can think of no better patrimony to share with the Church, and no better structure within the Church to promote such a rich patrimony than the Ordinariates.
As a blogger and a journalist, I want to mull over these words of Archbishop Muller’s: ”Constructing a culture of communion will require wisdom, humility, and a firmness of intention to avoid divisiveness.”
What do we do when we run up against something within the Church that requires us to speak or write prophetically and to exhort the Church to be more herself? Would the Archbishop be advising that we avoid saying anything?
And what is a real Culture of Communion and what is a kind of smiling, surface, everything- is- just- wonderful pretend lack of division while behind the scenes there is jockeying for advantage and quiet destruction of reputations with a sanctimonious spin?
I believe one can only find a real Culture of Communion through the Holy Spirit who brings unity as well as the fruits of the Spirit—love, patience, kindness, self-control—and wisdom to know when to speak up and when to pray and the courage to do what God calls us to do.
I have struggled with the Catholic understanding of ecclesiology for a long time, especially when before I became Catholic I saw so many Catholics who did not even believe in transubstantiation or the Church’s teachings on human sexuality who were members of the family and I believed all those things but was an outsider. And to be able to join you have to sign onto the whole of Catholic teaching. One had to have the beliefs of St. Thomas Aquinas to become a member of the family but once you are a member, gee, you can vote for abortion on demand or same-sex ‘marriage’ and remain a Catholic in good standing who gets invited to speak in Catholic schools.
And I have seen Catholics on the left want to hive off those “Taliban Catholics” on the right, and Catholics on the right want those in the “social justice” crowd to be excommunicated because they aren’t as passionate about ending abortion. This grieves me. Because of my work as a journalist, I have been blessed to get to know Catholics on all sides of various contentious debates and it has helped me to broaden my perspective on Catholic ecclesiology as family.
There is a way of cultivating a true Culture of Communion that involves prayerfully, and humbly dying to self and living in Christ that may get you labeled divisive because you find yourself speaking the truth in love. There is a way of cultivating a “culture of communion” that puts a smiley face over divisions and disagreements and shoots any messenger who does not go along to get along.
That’s not love.
My prayer is that I find that holy love in my life and in my work. My prayer also is that I use what discernment God has given me into the trouble and problems I see as a call to intercession rather than a stoking of a critical spirit that finds expression here on my blog or in my conversation with friends.
Then, if, after I have spent that time in intercession and wrestled with God over this until He has blessed me with His peace, and I still need to speak up, may I have the courage to do so. That is my heart’s desire, but habits of a critical spirit sometimes die hard.