I am back from a splendid pontifical high Mass in a very special Marian shrine with an overwhelmingly large number of pilgrims overflowing the church, which is unusual in northern Europe (Germany). The local bishop seemed more like a politician preaching in favor of a political party than a bishop teaching the faith. The homily started with a statement in support of the European Union, bashing nationalists and populisms, while praising partnerships and advocating for protecting the environment. Only after this diatribe did all who were gathered, having traveled miles to attend, hear about the Assumption of Our Lady.
Why are our clergy and bishops not teaching what they are supposed to teach, instead becoming entangled in contemporary politics and ideology—and worse, taking sides in current politics and with certain politicians and sharing the same script of their political agenda? Don’t we have enough of politics already, as we are bombarded from every direction? Why isn’t the Church being the Church, a teacher—a magistra–of faith? Why aren’t our bishops teaching?
Obviously, I was disappointed, to say the least. However, the homily for the Feast of the Assumption reminded me of the August 9, 2019, La Stampa interview of Pope Francis. The topics covered seemed almost identical to those included in the homily. In fact, when I first read the Holy Father’s interview, I thought it to be probably one of the most political interviews in his pontificate so far. The themes explored in the interview are hot buttons, highly contested in both European politics in general and Italian politics in particular: European Union integration, sovereignty, immigration, globalism, populism, nationalism, and the environment.
Where is Christ and the Church as Mater et Magistra in all this? Why are the priorities shifted to a an ideological-political platform? What has the Church to offer that is different from what the political parties and political contestants are offering to the faithful and to the lapsed Catholics who on Holy Days make an effort to return? In what ways, exactly, is the Church qualified to make judgments on political parties and policies?
Go here to read the rest. Trading in Christianity for the latest in left wing politics is nothing new. The mainline Protestant churches blazed this path and paid for it in shrinking membership and ever growing irrelevance. The Church, under the current Pope, is trotting down the same highway to extinction.