The Church’s umpteenth Lent–and my twelfth one–is drawing to a close. The Triduum, followed by the blessedly long season of Easter, approaches. The Church lumbers on.
We said “be seeing you,” to Pope Emeritus Benedict and welcomed, with surprise, Pope Francis. All the media stories, gossip, and conspiracy theories came to naught, and as the spotlight fades from our Catholic Church we are left with two gentle, wise successors of St. Peter. Benedict is beginning to enjoy a long-deserved rest. Pope Francis is facing the daunting task of balancing the world as the servant of the servants of God. But the Holy Spirit is with him, and the Church lumbers on.
The renewal of the liturgy and of sacred music continue (slowly) apace. Many traditionalists in our Church are worried about Pope Francis, but I am not. I have already seen signs of better liturgies and more sacred music, and every young priest that I know reverently celebrates the Mass. And I give credit to the traditionalists for their diligence through all these years in exhorting us to greater fidelity in the liturgy.
Blessedly, thousands upon thousands of new converts are joining the Church in full communion. Their zeal and joy will energize us old-timers and draw many more people to Christ’s Church. Meanwhile, thousands of nominal and cultural Catholics will fall away. Most of the latter never received the truth of the Catholic Faith, and now they will have to walk winding paths through the wilderness before finding their way home again. Hopefully we will have the lanterns burning brightly for them so they can see the way to go, when they are ready. And still the Church lumbers on.
I no longer have any fears or doubts about the promises that Christ made to His Church. I don’t fear that Pope Francis will substantially change dogma. I don’t fear that the Church will go belly up, as so many have predicted would happen for so long. No, the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. And thank God for it, because without that unmovable foundation, I don’t know where I’d be. I only need concern myself with being faithful to the people, duties, and vocation that God has given to me.
As Lent draws to a close, I lumber on, and to my great consolation, the Church lumbers on beside me.