This is an excerpt of a comment from The Masked Chicken in Father Z’s recent post about peripheries as he tries to understand Pope Francis.
Seriously, the inner dissipation of the Church has been cause, specifically, because people have been reaching out to the peripheries – only they have been the wrong peripheries. They have reached out to Protestants, not with the goal of converting them, but of embracing their lifestyle and thus, we get the modern watered-down Mass. They have reached out to the sinner, but not with the goal of converting them, but of showing their solidarity, and thus, we get the loss of a sense of sin in society. They have reached out to the poor, not with the goal of spiritually elevating them, but of pretending to be one of them, and thus, we get the loss of detachment. They have reached out to the disordered, not with the goal of helping them find order, but in understanding their, “contribution,” and thus, we get the abuse crisis.
The simple fact is that any authentic renewal must be worked for, in concert with the graces given by the Holy Spirit and it is hard. The Spirit blows where it will, so it is the height of pride to say from whence our help will come, except to say that when it does, our help shall be in the name of the Lord (Ps. 125).
Ultimately, the renewal of the Church will not come from an external baptism from a periphery. It will come from the stark realization that there is God within and we knew Him, not.
Where is the humble Church? Where is the weeping Church? Where is the Church who resist the Devil? Show me that Church, for it will be the renewal of Christ in the world. That Church is not in Latin America. It is not even in Africa. It exists nowhere in the world, at the present time. It does exist in the hearts of a few good men and if the renewal of the Church is to take place, it will take place from within those holy hearts.