In the profound encyclical of St. John Paul the Great, Familiaris consortio, there is his famous battle cry, “Family, become what you are!” Now you may be thinking that the Holy Father might have missed a step in that logic. Well he actually didn't and let me explain why recent Church leaders are saying otherwise.
Now to be fair, throughout St. John Paul II's time as Pope, while the world fell in love many in the Church felt confused. This is attributed to the beautiful orthodoxy and philosophical grounding littered in his writings that let's be honest; these writings will take a lifetime to unravel.
As saints are usually misunderstood, one asks just what we’re the topics that critics of JPII grew in contension? Many things. Mainly for his passion in the human person and the family.
So now that you are aware that this confusion is not anything new, it sets the stage for an ancient teaching within the Church coming under fire recently. This statement from his encyclical on the family leaves you wondering, well who are we? Maybe even to seek answers to an age-old question, who am I?
The Polish Pope built this logic on top of the ancient teachings dating to the Council of Trent in 325 AD recognizing this truth as a path to be recognized as the Ecclesiae domestica a.k.a. Domestic Church.
Ok, cool Brian but what does that actually mean? A simple dive into the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1657 explains it best:
Isn't that just beautiful from the heart of Mother Church guiding us on the path to salvation? What is even more beautiful is how the lasting effect of the family becoming the Domestic Church is "the offering of one's life."
Sounds like a model without a selfish bone in sight, a gift within a gift. But as in all things, 1.) it is not easy and 2.) we need help to get there.
That is where we look to our leaders to accompany us in building this foundation in our families into a reality. Sadly, as I mentioned previously, some church leaders think otherwise.
In a recent talk given by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia to a seminary in Querétaro, Mexico he said that attempting “to define the individual family as a little church (Domestic Church) is dangerous. It’s very dangerous because it can encourage an egoism of the family.”
Ouch, just ouch. Umm...are you just as stumped as I am right now? Cue head scratch. Why does it even hurt more than usual Kasparian waves crashing through the Church?
Paglia is currently assigned to the Academy for Life and as Chancellor for the St. John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family. The main source we look to guidance in becoming the Domestic Church.
Now I am going to save the integrity of this post by not listing every concern, there's just not enough room on the word count. I am asked daily on what is the situation in Rome at the Institute. Well...this is it in plane sight. My usual response about the institute's future? We don't know, but we know.
If the Domestic Church is so powerfully explained in the ancient teachings of the Church, just what danger is the family towards? How can the family become selfish by becoming what they were made to be?
Be careful in asking these questions to yourself, most likely you will be stuck in a loop as the only answer is political agendas. With Paglia’s logic, the teaching should read, "Family, Don't Become What You Are!" It's straight contradiction to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Fatima with the prophetic message of Sister Lucia that the final battle between heaven and hell will be for marriage and the family. Furthermore, I believe C.S. Lewis says it best in understanding this when he says,
Remaining a hidden beauty in society today, the Call for the family to become what they are is the great sabotage of the false church rising.
My two cents?
Don't waste your time in protesting the rising false Church, yet use your finite time on this earth to proclaim Jesus Christ crucified in his infinite mercy and love. Embrace the salvific opportunity we receive to become battle ready within the Domestic Church awaiting the true King of Kings and become what you are.