Elizabeth Scalia on gradualism

She writes:

Do people have a point when they worry about “gradualism” assisting in the degradation of the sacraments and our understanding of them? Is there a possibility of it being misunderstood and misused? Oh, yes, and that’s worth being concerned about, particularly given the church’s poor catechetical transmission over the past five decades — when it has most desperately been needed — and the Curia’s self-destructive habit of not controlling its message but allowing important teachings, documents and exhortations to be filtered through the secular press, and thereby reduced to the least-helpful soundbites.

Father Dwight Longenecher is concerned about the seeming double-speak on co-habitation, and I get that, but then again. . .the thing about Calah’s story is that Calah and her husband were taking the church on its own terms, while still trying to extricate themselves from their sins, and were therefore willing to work within the discipline, willing to withhold themselves and (so to speak) “take their medicine” of refraining from Communion, until they were in a state of grace.

It seems to me this is where things fall apart and gradualism becomes scary for people; precisely at the line where people place their sense of entitlement before their willingness to try something as radical as obedience, which is strong, strong medicine, and must be taken with an IV of humility.

Yes, I get the scary part. But I also get the humane part that evangelizes people back into church by seeing them in their totality and walking with them. Gradualism is a time-consuming and one-on-one sort of pastoring, and we have so few priests well-trained to it, and so many Catholics or potential Catholics, in great need: how can shall we manage this?

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