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A Church Loved, Not Criticized

The Church offers more for us to love than to criticize. “The closer you get to the Catholic Church,” writes John C. Cavadini, “the closer you get to the Wounds of Christ.”

That’s an important reflection for any age, and for ours too. We tend to criticize the vulnerabilities and frailness that make the Church so lovely. Yet we tend to love the most those sureties and structures built by her frail, vulnerable members.

Who loves the Wounds of Christ above the certainty of the liturgy, the community, the rich intellectual tradition of the Church? Not I.

Still, I can’t help but recognize each day that the Wounds of Christ heal the most. Not through my strength or intelligence, but through the inescapable infirmity of my existence. I can’t help but to expect that the majesty of God is so far beyond my reckoning that it’s nearly inaccessible to my mind. Otherwise, I can’t believe at all that salvation is possible, or that life has meaning.

“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.’”

These are St. Paul’s words of wisdom for those who are mature. “Not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.”

In all our dealings with others — in our criticisms and affections — we should recall and speak first of “God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, and which none of the rulers of this age knew; for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

“But as it is written: ‘What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.’”


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  • Greg Herr

    Love This. Love, Love, Love.

  • You should qualify your thesis. The church is made up of men, men who are fallible and flawed. If you’re criticizing the majesty of the church then I would agree with you. If you are criticizing what is a result of human failing, then I would say you are wrong. My goodness, Dante criticized the church as did St. Catherine of Siena.