The Vatican has just issued the Holy Father’s post-synodal letter on youth, Christus vivit, finished on March 25th, but just now open to the public. I have yet to read it, but, upon first glance, amongst many good exhortations, the document seems to contain also a number of ambiguous statements we have come to expect from this Magisterium, words which must be interpreted in light of Scripture and Tradition – not the other way around. As Pope Pius XII put it, we interpret the less clear in light of the more clear and, we would add, the less authoritative in the light of what has greater authority. For our Church is one that transcends history, while immersed in space and time, with two millennia of teaching. We have been given the Truth, and we must hold onto it – or Him – for our dear lives.
The Pope has also just returned from his trip to Morocco, and in his General Audience, has urged solidarity between Christians and Muslims who are both ‘children of Abraham’. Yes, in a sense – for all men are in a sense descendants of the one who was promised them like the ‘sands on the seashore’ because of his great faith. In light of Christ’s words in John chapter 8, would the ‘faith of Abraham’ be more consistent with Catholicism or Islam? Which one is the more rational, consistent and pleasing to God?
The Holy Father herein also clarifies his recent statement that God wills the diversity of religions, using – I am glad to read – the scholastic distinction between the permissive and more perfect will of God. That is, things may be more or less ‘God’ will’, and the Almighty permits much that is evil, or even less good, in order to bring about a greater good. The Pope seems to consider Islam as a ‘less good’ religion, rather than one that is evil, so why can’t we all just get along amicably?
The difficulty here is that there is also a good deal that is ‘evil’ in Islam, as even a brief perusal of history, current and more distant, will attest, and one wonders if all Muslims will also want to just ‘get along’, or will they want the rest of us to submit to that we cannot?
As a case in point, it will be informative to watch how the media establishment responds to the instantiation of Sharia law in Brunei, where homosexual behaviour will now get you stoned – not by marijuana, also illegal, but as in pelted with rocks until dead. What, I wonder, will happen when these different mind-sets – Hollywood and Sharia – collide?
While collisions, Justin Trudeau has expelled – like an upset vice principal – Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal Party. The Prime Minister is upset that Ms. Wilson-Raybould secretly taped a conversation with Michael Wernick, the Clerk of the Privy Council, offering evidence that she, as Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, was being coerced to skirt the law to protect SNC-Lavalin. It is all so sordid and pathetic, but what does one expect? Morality is all of a piece, and one either has an ordered conscience, which will in the end do the right thing, or a corrupt and seared one, which will choose badly. If Trudeau and his un-merry band support the murder of unborn children in the full light of day – and our minister-king will tolerate no dissent on this – what will they not do in secret?
Perhaps the two former Liberals should be glad to have been let go, and we may hope that this offers some space for reflection, to clarify their own conscience.
As Mr. Trudeau put it, his party ‘must stand united’, but in what? On solid rock, or on shifting sand of ephemeral, sentimentalist, self-referential ‘values’, which permit much that is deeply evil? And what will they do when the winds begin to blow, as they seem to be? And if a house divided against itself cannot stand, what are we to say of a house divided from Christ and His Truth? What, pray tell, is holding it, and them, and us, all together?
Today is the memorial of Saint Vincent Ferrer (+1419), a fiery, intense, highly intelligent Dominican missionary, who travelled the length and breadth of Europe preaching to and converting untold thousands, counselling kings and potentates, and embroiled in the controversies of the day, not least the Great Western Schism, wherein there were at point three rival claimants to the papacy. There was not much ambiguity in his preaching. Like all great saints, his apostolic work was the fruit of a deep interior life, and one fact that struck me was that during his formation, he spent three years reading nothing but the Bible, committing the entire Word of God to memory. Would that we had but a spark of the fire that must have burned within Vincent, perhaps we too might set the world ablaze.