Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Re: Fathers

The Pope has been on a big run lately in talking about the importance of fathers. Take these comments today from Zenit, for example.

In his address, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the role of the father saying that he wanted to reflect on its positive aspects. Every family, he said, needs a father in order to transmit "what truly counts in life, namely a wise heart."

"A father knows wells how much it costs to transmit this heritage: how much closeness, how much sweetness and how much firmness," he said. "But, what a consolation and what a reward you receive, when children honor this heritage! It is a joy that redeems all labor, which surpasses all misunderstanding and heals every wound."

As I read these comments, I couldn't help but think of those whom we call "fathers" all through our lives. Not just the biological ones or even our priests, but the Church Fathers and a connection made in our prior post regarding St. John XXIII.

Do we have any comprehension of how revolting these Fathers are to the sensibilities of the modern Catholic? Take "inter-religious dialogue" for example. The Fathers, to a man, would happily tell you that non-Christian religions are essentially the worship of devils who have deceived people into thinking them gods. Consider how fast a priest would be reported to his bishop these days for making an observation that is bedrock Catholicism, transmitted to us at great cost, to use the Holy Father's words.

Heresy and schism within the definition of Christianity? Would the Fathers have held endless big money "conferences" and "seminars" with the Pelagians, iconoclasts, Donatists, and so forth? Would their have been an infinite number of self-congratulatory statements about non-existent "progress" and "mutual enrichment"?

Of course not.

Yet these perspectives are anathema to our modern minds. How sad that, as we have a pope emphasizing the role of fathers and the respect due to them, we, their spiritual children, have chosen to forsake their wisdom in exchange for banal platitudes.

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