Today, over at LifesiteNews, I read a very very good post by a priest who sadly had to close their elementary school. It is an excellent article about how most parishes have contracepted themselves nearly out of existence and then people object to schools and parishes closing. This good man has written an article for discussion that is worthy of discussion. Here is a bit from the article:
In my January 2010 letter to my bishop asking his permission to close our school, I wrote:
Bishop, it is with a heavy heart that I request this of you. As you know, priests were not ordained to be closing grade schools, but we were ordained to be Christ in the midst of sorrow and pain, which will be happening as we come to accept both your decision and the inevitable fact that St. Mary’s Grade School is no longer viable. The efficient cause is simple….no children. The first cause is the habitual contraception and sterilization mentality of a good portion of married Catholic Christians–in short the Culture of Death. The final cause is the closure of Catholic Schools and parishes. Bishop, we need your leadership to address the contraception/abortion/sterilization mentality in as forceful a way as soon as possible.
I agree with this dear priest’s assessment that the efficient cause is lack of children, and that the cause of the lack of children is the contraceptive/abortive/sterilization mentality of the people, but I think that the contraceptive mentality is not the first cause. I would like to suggest TWO points for consideration for First Cause.
POINT ONE: ORDER AND TIMING OF THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION
In seeking a first cause I have something I would like to suggest for consideration. In the early Church, the Sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist were always given together to adults and infants. The Orthodox have kept this tradition. The Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have restored the pattern in the RCIA books and for children entering over the age of reason (7 years)– perhaps the people, if the infants were given Eucharist and were able to receive the graces of these Sacraments BEFORE the culture of death gets to catechize them into accepting evil as normative, MAYBE there would have been more babies born because the graces of children receiving the Eucharist in innocent trust would have been enough to help those adults reject the contraceptive mentality when it was offered.
Restore the ancient order of the Sacraments and the ancient practice. Revere the Pope in Rome and LISTEN to him more. Preach the culture of Life from the pulpit no matter the cost. Pray and Fast and give Alms.
Culturally based solutions will not suffice. Only the spiritual ones will do the trick.
POINT TWO: CHRIST HAS ONE BODY–SO STARTING ACTING LIKE IT!
Yet even more than this very important point is still another point to consider, and perhaps THIS is the true first cause: that the Orthodox and Catholic lungs of the Body of Christ are STILL refusing on the human plane to live according to the spiritual reality that Christ as ONE Body. Patriarchs and Bishops alike need to get together and FIX this problem. God has a single Church. The evidence suggests that in human terms we act as if God has two Churches– but this is not what SCRIPTURE tells us! God’s Church has the Bishop of Rome in a special place of authority (let an ecumenical council hash out what that is supposed to look like!!!!) and includes rather obviously both Orthodoxy and Catholicism. The issues between them need to be hashed out in an Ecumenical Council. The council needs to do the work, and then point the Laity to the documents– and those who are true Christians will embrace those decisions of the true council and put them into practice in our lives.
We need the restoration of the order and timing of the Sacraments, we need an Ecumenical Council to restore practical unity in the ONE Church and we need these things NOW.
Dear Lord, please kick Bishop and Patriarch ass into doing what is needed. +Amen.