A Church in Travail: Aidan Hart

16/10/2017Print This Post

 

In what he sees as a seriously dark night for the Catholic Church in Ireland and elsewhere, Aidan Hart finds hope and light in the possibility of apology and forgiveness for serious recent mistakes of leadership.  The courage and dedication of former generations of Irish missionaries can still provide inspiration. 

We can think of the current decline in the Catholic Church in Ireland, and likely worldwide, as a time of darkness whose future is like walking down an ever-darkening tunnel away from the light. For many Catholics this is causing a spiritual crisis, resulting in a religious loss of direction, identity, purpose, meaning, joy and commitment. For others it is a general feeling of religious malaise and indifference.

A Church in Travail
We are being led into a dark place by the Holy Spirit for a purpose. It feels like a dying Church abandoned by God in spite of His promise (Matthew 16:18). It is a Church in travail, wounded and suffering, but not forgotten by God. He called it into existence for His divine purpose. He is here beside and within each of us, within a darkness that is both personal and institutional, encouraging us to remain faithful and active in seeking change, renewal and renewed life for His Church.

The Dark Night of the Church
It could be called The Dark Night of the Church. What Marabai Starr has written of the Dark Night of the Soul (St. John of the Cross) can equally be said today of many Catholics as they contemplate the state of their Catholic Church. They just don’t know what to think because of its many scandals, parish closures and amalgamations and the serious decline in church membership in many developed countries. For Fr Richard Rohr it is “an experience of being stripped of all the spiritual feelings and concepts with which we are accustomed to propping up our inner lives … a plunge into the abyss of radical unknowingness,” a time for “brutal honesty, confession, surrender, forgiveness, apology, and restitution.”

It is a time of purging and purification, a time of repentance and forgiveness, a time of pruning for new growth, reform of outdated or dysfunctional structures and practices, a time for healing, a time for moving inwards in reflection and prayer to prepare for a reinvigorated outward moving mission to humanity, a time for change, consultation, rethinking and honest evaluation of what has and is going wrong and a time for courage to enact what is necessary to take the Church out of darkness into God’s light to the world.

A Time for Trust and Forgiveness
It is a time of trust in God, and a time for apology. Forgiveness must first be for ourselves, for without it we will lack peace, act from negative anger, and block God’s love. Forgiveness then for others, for their failings of omission or commission: without this, both they and we will remain in mutual, destructive opposition and isolation. Unforgiveness holds us all in captivity. Together and in the power of the Holy Spirit both laity and clergy can begin to rebuild God’s seriously damaged Church.

The Need for a Twofold Apology
Sincere apology must follow an admission for all the wrongs that have been done both individually and structurally. This must come first and foremost from the whole Church to God for having yet again betrayed the great gift of His Church (His own Mystical Body) to humanity, a Church that was given to help bring about His universal Kingdom of God on earth. This was to be a Kingdom of love, compassion, peace, joy and justice for all. Instead this Church was turned into a private fiefdom of power, wealth and influence for many of its clerical leaders – from whom many of the laity willingly bought a privatised and individualistic religion, a ‘discounted ticket to eternity’ in return for their unquestioning obedience and generous financial support. This apology must also go to all those suppressed and damaged by the Church over many centuries, in particular to gay people, women and an unknown number of vulnerable children who were physically and sexually abused.

A Church Forever Reforming and Transforming; A Rebirth of the Church
The sincerity of that apology will be judged by the Church hierarchy’s willingness to admit their mistakes and initiate fundamental and widespread reforms. These can only make a recurrence of this dark night less likely; being human and broken we can never say ‘never again’. Perpetual reform – built on equality, openness and accountability – must be part of the new structure; as Martin Luther said so many centuries ago, a Church for ever reforming.

When all that begins to take place, and not before, the Dark Night of the Church will begin to lift and the divine light of transformation and resurrection to new life will begin to shine again within the small, emerging and evangelising Church of the future. Hope and joy will be reborn. If the reforms take root the transformed and reformed Church – untarnished by infighting, status seeking, power and corruption and working anew in open and equal partnership between laity (male and female) and clergy, each contributing their own unique experience and skill set to serve all humanity in the spread of the Kingdom of God on earth – will return to, and expand, the great works for God of former generations of Catholic lay people, nuns, religious brothers and priests.

Today’s Indebtedness to Past Generations
The many and generous gifts of themselves and their talents by former generations of Irish Catholics, both lay and clerical, cannot be denied. Many countries owe their Catholic faith to former Irish missionaries. Unfortunately their achievements have been overshadowed in the current crisis and decline. Let us not forget them and what they achieved. Let their heroic legacy, coupled to the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, be our inspiration as we work to bring about a reborn and revitalised Catholic Church.

~*~

Aidan Hart is a former Head of RE in schools, with experience as a N.Ireland Department of Education inspector for school-based religious education, and in the facilitation of inter-Christian and inter-faith discussion.

The author wishes to acknowledge the generous and skilled help willingly given by Sean O’Conaill in previewing and constructively editing this article.

Comments

20 Responses to “A Church in Travail: Aidan Hart”
  1. soconaill says:

    For me, part of the current darkness is an apparent clerical fear of acknowledging the scale of hurt and alienation caused by what Irish bishops have themselves called a ‘cover up’ of the problem of clerical abuse of children. Very few in Ireland have ever had an opportunity to speak to their bishops about that, let alone to ask why it could have happened. That was a serious sin against those families most deeply affected, and a sin against what Pope Francis calls the ‘family of families’ – the church itself. There is no sign that Irish bishops have even wanted to measure the scale of harm done by conducting serious research.

    So that now, with a World Meeting of Families due to take place in Dublin in August of next year, I have a serious misgiving over whether this could be an attempt to restore the reputation of the church for ‘family friendliness’ before full restitution and apology for past wrong has taken place.

    Might it be wise therefore to consider petitioning the organisers to make sure that this world meeting of families should begin with an apology from the Irish Bishops Conference for those failings? Would this not be a natural follow-up to the December 2009 apology by the bishops for the failings of the Dublin archdiocese in particular?

    This could also include an apology for the failure to honour the Vatican II call for a church of dialogue that would allow lay people to speak openly to their bishops of their pastoral needs, as promised by article 37 of Lumen Gentium (1965). It was surely the absence of structures for regular dialogue at parish and diocesan level that left individual families unprotected and unsupported when tragedy struck. And it is the continuing absence of such structures that most critically hampers the recovery of the Irish church.

  2. Aidan Hart says:

    Sean, your idea of petitioning the organisers of the world meeting of families in Dublin for an admission and apology by the Irish Hierarchy at the opening session for their cover-up, tardiness or failure to act in the face of clerical child abuse, is a practical and appropriate suggestion.
    It would be helpful if ACI posted the name and address of the organising chairperson or, better still, an appropriate letter to which readers could append their name and address or email address (to prove authenticity).
    It would also be helpful if readers left their thoughtful comments on all or any of the issues in the above article or on the views submitted by others, all of which Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Vatican officials and other organisers of the big international meeting on the family in Dublin can read and ponder, if they feel so inclined.
    Aidan

  3. Noel McCann says:

    Many thanks, Aidan, for highlighting key issues relevant to our current church crisis in such a concise manner. Regrettably there is no indication that the Irish bishops will ever accept the centrality of their actions [and failure to act] in bringing us to the ‘Dark Night’ we are currently experiencing. Equally there is no real evidence of any commitment on their part to supporting the reform and renewal agenda of Pope Francis. Perhaps they just don’t have any belief in the reform agenda. Maybe they are satisfied with the ‘status quo’ or maybe they are ‘hedging their bets’ until Francis is replaced when the immediate future direction of the church will become clearer. I don’t know where they stand as they don’t communicate with the lay faithful in any meaningful way. That is not to say that we shouldn’t promote the idea Sean has proposed in regard to the WMOF 2018.

    All is not lost, however, and there are occasional situations and events which provide encouragement and indications of what is possible when people just follow their instinct. One such event took place last Sunday in our area when a few hundred Christians – Catholic, Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian – gathered for a Harvest Walk followed by a Harvest Thanksgiving Service in our local Church of Ireland. It was a joyous, happy gathering filled with hope and it provided a glimpse of what we can do together when we take the initiative. Not a bishop in sight – maybe that’s the secret!!

  4. Aidan Hart says:

    I suspect you are right Noel but still think that we have a duty to ‘speak truth onto power’ even if the power isn’t inclined to listen or act on what we say. It should not be said that we never tried!

    Perhaps readers could let us know whether or not they think such a petition would be worth hosting on this website.

    Interestingly I received an email from a Dutch priest friend this morning. It provided a link to a website hosting an Open Letter of Support to Pope Francis for what he is trying to achieve in the Catholic Church and seeking signatures from those in agreement around the world. It is in both German and English. Perhaps our readers would consider adding their support to this very positive initiative; the link is :

    http://www.pro-pope-francis.com/site/english

    That letter will help offset the very negative letter he has received recently from some very right wing theologians and criticism from some of his bishops and cardinals.

  5. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    Just as long as building the church doesn’t take precedence over rebuilding the planet into one that supports future life. One in six people died last year due to air pollution and many of those people children. This is the biggest abuse that the Roman Catholic Church is currently supporting. If we were truly hearing the cries of the poor, we’d know that babies were dying of smoke and exhaust inhalation.

    The effects are catastrophic on the mind – think of this and predict your future situation. A casualty that has been made obsolete by its own technology is not able to be forgiven until one in all start to act in unison and truly become the Church of Pope Francis. We must be careful even at this old age to not become devils to a generation. It is a balancing act you must perform daily.

    • Aidan Hart says:

      Yes, Lloyd Allan, care for nature is vitally important too, a point made repeatedly by Pope Francis, a trained chemist. He labelled the human destruction of the environment a social sin. Here is just one of his many pungent statements;

      “As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.”

      You will do doubt have read his 2015 Encyclical Letter ‘Laudato Si; On Care for Our Common Home’ . That vision will only come to fruition when the Church itself is renewed and incorporates that vision for nature into its overall vision of the nature and mission of the Church – when it begins it long journey back towards the light.

      I don’t see it as ‘either or’ but as both concerns being addressed together as part of a cosmic whole.

      • Well Pope Francis knows that society has been corrupted by an economical system that is designed for small portion of the population, sadly. So does your average 13-17 year old. Countries like Canada and Ireland do nothing to close the tax loop-holes for massive corporations making massive earnings in places where they don’t do business – simply for tax breaks.

        He loves the fact that many of us claim to be stewards of his Church yet don’t really act like we are stewards of anything but an empire built on sand. How does the Church renew if it continues to be there along with everyone else? Doing quite the same thing we’ve done every other day except with a difference of opinion on certain matters.

        We are not on a long journey, we are on a 7 year plan and the quicker we all realise that we each have equal roles in this newly found light seeking adventure, the better. How is each country trying to defeat planned obsolescence? Or do you not realise it is the very thing that is bringing us to our knees. It has a name and it can be used against corporations very easily.

        We have to place our “cosmic whole” firmly in the same direction, one that is supported by Pope Francis and break through the chains that are holding us back as a species. There is a Church for you, eh? One that tackles inequality – one that is not afraid of going back to simpler times – one that still understands the economics behind cooperative scale systems of management – one that openly seeks out dialogue and cooperation with collaborators on important matters.

        Wishful thinking for those children of http://www.ourchildrenstrust.org to think that they can sue the Trump administration for crimes against future generations (due to fossil fuel/chemical by-product industry).

        Imagine the vehicle that unites against these phenomena: children of a generation not meant to last. How are these kids being supported in Ireland? You surely have lots of kids in your country who suffer from asthma and respiratory illnesses.

        • Aidan Hart says:

          You make many valid points Lloyd Allan. I totally agree with you that our modern system of capitalism and unfettered mass production are corrupt. They are making a god out of profit-at-any-cost and looking after only those at the top while destroying both the environment and atmosphere for the rest of humanity. For me, and no doubt also for you, that should be a major concern for everyone, especially for Christians who believe that we are gifted with creation by God and are expected to be responsible stewards of it for future generations.

          I made those points in a former article on this website; ‘Mimetic Desire, The American Dream And the Next Global Financial Crisis (14/04/’15)

          What I am arguing in the above article is that unless we get the vision and foundational principles for the whole Church right, starting with the hierarchy and Vatican admitting their failures (including the failure to implement fully the reforms and spirit of the Second Vatican Council) and apologising for them, progress and real reform of many major issues, including responsible stewardship of nature, which are of concern to many Catholics, will not happen.

          • Well Aidan, I hope that is your “Omega Point” and that is the catalyst worth prescribing to in this current lifetime. I have my own thoughts for the right reasons on climate lawsuits considering my current situation but one that is subject to a certain level of confidentiality because the age of the plaintiffs.

            Our request calls for not only 1.2bn Catholics’ action, but also among all believers and non. I’m not sure where that puts Pope Francis on the Omega Point Scale. This idea of going “green” and fundraising for it as a greater good to bring an end to disparity for one and all sounds familiar, very familiar. There is North American Native prophecy surrounding these events and key players. Ireland is there, full stop for some reason. I guess you all just haven’t come to understand this.

            Hederman should be able to convince you.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_8Fp6H9kH8

            The Pope has the vision and the proper bedrock for the whole Church right now. Inverted pyramid, in service to one and all, is what we should be demanding. They don’t have to admit their failures, we just all have to start forgiving where we can and advancing towards solving our greatest challenges as a common citizen of planet Earth. If we are doing anything other than this, no progress can/will be made within the confines of any society attached to this planned obsolescence experiment gone wrong.

            Amazing times we live in – there is opportunity around every corner for the imaginative. We just have to keep thinking like these kids in “Our Children’s Trust”. We are taking swords to this young generation because of habits conditioned by a ruling corporate class of humanoid. It is so excessive, it is inhumane.

  6. Derek Cummings says:

    Aidan thank you for that thoughtful and courageous article,”A church in travail.” As a protestant brother in Christ I can identify with the sentiments you so eloquently express. What the Catholic church is experiencing is shared by other branches of the church. We have all lost our way to some degree and need to return to the basic tenets of our Christian faith. Unless we can be seen to demonstrate the humility, love and compassion of our Lord Jesus in every facet of our lives, we are empty vessels and without credibility!

    • Aidan Hart says:

      Lloyd Allan, thank you for that link to Fr. Mark Patrick Hederman’s talk; a thoughtful and fluent conference speech that many of our readers will appreciate. Fr. Hederman was the previous abbot of Glenstal Abbey in the Republic of Ireland.

      We participate in the future and shape it by what we are doing today. The First World War was created in the actions of the participating nations during their previous years and generations of political activity. I totally agree with Fr. Hederman’s core idea that ‘the future’ is not something ‘out there’ waiting for us to arrive and inhabit. Rather it is something we are creating today and every day as we journey continuously into the future. It is a future reality for which all of us have responsibility today; obvious when one comes to think of it but perhaps few do think of it and of our responsibility for it. “what is unseen is eternal” (2Cor 4:18). In being self absorbed with our present we fail to see what we are creating for the future.

      Our Christian spirituality must both challenge and infuse our culture and must be situated both in the here-and-now and in a time scale which embraces our responsibility for an inclusive future built on love, justice and hope for all peoples and for nature, through the creative action of the Holy Spirit within us here and now (Proverbs 16:3).

      We must all, laity and clergy in active partnership, help shape our Church to grow and develop into the future. Our Catholic Church must be forever reforming itself in the face of the human propensity of all of us to sin. This means being open always to developing and expanding the Church’s sacred Tradition, whilst remaining faithful to the spirit and deepest meaning of Sacred Scripture, to enable it to continue speaking meaningfully to present and future generations. Only in doing this, in the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit, will the ‘dark night of the Church’ come to an end and its message of love, joy and hope again shine forth again into the future to all nations and all of nature.

      Lloyd Allan, I need to allow time and space for others to comment on the above article and on the various replies, including yours and mine, so I trust you won’t mind if I leave it at that for the time being.

      Thank you Lloyd Allan for your thoughtful and thought provoking replies. I trust you will remain a contributing visitor to our website.

  7. Christine Jones says:

    As a “fallen off the wagon” Catholic in her mid twenties, I found this article to be a breath of fresh air. It’s long overdue for a brutally honest review of the current situation from someone who still has a strongly held faith in the bare bones of the Catholic Church & an ultimate faith in god. I’ll definitely have a ponder on this, thank you for writing it!

    • Aidan Hart says:

      A very honest and to-the-point response straight from the heart.

      Usually better to grow where you were planted, in your case the Catholic Church. However it is vitally important for you to experience the awareness of the unconditional love of God in your life, what you call ‘ultimate faith in God’.

      To deepen that faith and awareness of God’s loving presence within you – slowly, prayerfully and reflectively read the Word of God in the Bible for a short time each day or when you can; perhaps on rising or before going to sleep or while having breakfast and before rushing off to work. Think about it afterwards and during the day to understand what it might mean for you and how you are living your life.

      Perhaps start with the Gospel of St. John. Before you read and as you read think of the reality – ‘God in me and me in God’. God the Holy Spirit will read the openness and sincerity of your heart and guide you along the right path in life for you.

      When you are ready He will lead you back to Sunday Eucharist within which your awareness of His divine, loving, merciful and forgiving presence within you, in all those around you and within all those you meet, will grow deeper. You will then realise you are God’s chosen conduit of His unconditional love to that part of the world you inhabit and all those you come into contact with.

      May you experience the joy and peace of living in awareness of God’s abiding presence within you and all around you.

  8. Pascal O'Dea says:

    Aidan,
    thanks for your piece,the suggestion of an apology by the Irish Hierarchy at the opening of the World congress on the family along the lines you suggest sounds appropriate in the circumstances we find our selves.At this stage ordinary church members should take heart in the common decency and faithful sharing of our christian hope that we inspire in each other.Our Irish Hierarchy it appears are unable or unwilling to sense the Spirit of the times, decent men out of step in a lot of ways with the lay church in 2017.At mass this weekend we were asked to pray for Pope Francis in his struggle to steer the Church against the waves of reactionary prelates.Where stand our local Hierarchy ?

  9. Laura Hughes says:

    Another thought provoking piece from Aidan . It is so encouraging to know that there are people like him in the Catholic church- compassionate of heart and humble in spirit .
    I agree wholeheartedly with the necessity for a spirit of repentance and an apology for all wrongs done as a result of the abuse of power in the Church ( individually and structurally) to herald the start of the World Congress on the Family in Ireland next year .
    From where I sat at Mass on Sunday I could see the banner advertising next year’s Congress with a picture of Pope Francis and the exhortation : ‘ How would our homes be if we said please , thank you and sorry .’
    How painful it must be for him to know that this is not what is happening in his own
    ‘ family of families ‘, the church .
    I don’t think there will be an apology for past wrongs at the start of the Congress and the reason is ultimately financial . To say sorry is the first step to admitting responsibility and that opens the door to claims for compensation – and the church is very rich and unwilling to part with the assets required to fund such claims .
    I wish it were not so and that the desire of the hierarchy to be open and committed to steering the church towards a truer representation of the church Jesus imagined would be stronger than any self-serving desire for wealth – I fear that is not the case . The church still advocates celibate priests as a point of theological principle when it is now widely known that priests were allowed to marry until the church realized that , on their death , they would leave any wealth they had to their families rather than the church – and so they brought in the rule of celibacy .
    The church will be saved by those people of simple and contrite hearts wanting to reach out to others in love – the wanting itself is of the Holy Spirit . People like those on your Harvest Walk , Noel . I wish I’d been there .

  10. Bernard Phelan says:

    Alfred Loisy, a theologian of the 19th Century, said that Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom but what came was the Church. I agree with your point Aidan that the Church’s task is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of love, compassion, peace, joy, and justice for all. I feel that unless we return to this task of proclaiming the Kingdom we won’t be able to help the Church emerge into the light. As long as we focus on the internal workings of the Church we will miss the point. If we widen our perspective to the Kingdom then the need for a reformed Church will follow on.

    • soconaill says:

      Yes, Bernard – we do need to proclaim the kingdom but we also need to tease out what this will involve.

      In my experience Irish Catholic clergy, when they do try to explain the ‘kingdom of God’, tend to conflate it with Heaven – to be experienced only after death. This makes nonsense of the prayer ‘thy kingdom come’, and of the Gospel reality that Jesus proclaimed the kingdom to be ‘at hand’ and ‘within’ and ‘among’ us – and never rescinded that proclaimed kingdom.

      For me a ‘kingdom’ attitude is one of realisation of the equal and infinite dignity of every person – but I find this reality subverted in the very structure of the church and by the clericalist attitudes that preserve that structure.
      Even the meaning of the Eucharist as a ‘leveller’ is subverted by the exclusionary rules we have inherited.

      So does ‘proclaiming the kingdom’ not require of us BOTH a critique of those structures and attitudes that subvert it AND an attitude of respect and care for those who are excluded? Did not Jesus do BOTH of those things?

      I see Pope Francis as embarked on his own ‘kingdom’ proclamation – in his lifestyle of indifference to ‘pomp and privilege’, in his practice of collegiality, in his policy of decentralisation and in his insistence that the church be a ‘field hospital’ rather than a pyramid of dignity. That amounts to a severe critique of the church we still have to put up with in Ireland.

      The current weakness of the Irish church – its deep crisis of continuity – makes this an opportune moment for asking of our clergy the time and space to discuss ‘the kingdom’ – something they have never offered to do in my lifetime.

    • Aidan Hart says:

      It is interesting Bernard that Fr. Alfred Loisy was finally excommunicated by Pope Pius X because what was contained in his many books and writings was considered by the Vatican as contradicting the official dogmas of the Catholic Church as they existed in the second part of the 18th century. At that time the Vatican refused to accept the idea of the development of doctrine over time, although it was proposed by John Henry Cardinal Newman in 1888. Cardinal Newman has recently been officially declared a saint. Back in 1888 he was lucky not to have been excommunicated like Fr. Loisy or silenced like Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and more recently Fr. Jacques Depuis and several Irish priests. Fr. Loisy, as with the other priests previously mentioned, was severely censured without a hearing or redress and by an over-authoritarian Vatican organisation for much (but not all) of what later became accepted knowledge within the Catholic Church.

      The Vatican at that time (and perhaps still) had not thought through the implications of Jesus’ teaching as recorded in Matthew 13:29 for their own way of working with contentious issues – the parable of the sower being advised not to pull up the weeds lest they be confused with, and kill, the good wheat – so leave to harvest time when it is clear what is wheat and what are weeds.

      Many, if not most, Catholic and Protestant scripture scholars today would agree fully with Fr. Loisy’s five biblical principles which were deemed by the Vatican at that time to be in error;

      1. The Pentateuch was not the work of Moses.

      2. The first five chapters of Genesis are not literal history.

      3. The New Testament and the Old Testament do not possess equal historical value.

      4. There has been a development of religious doctrine in scripture.

      5. The sacred writings have the same limitations as all other documents authored in the ancient world.

  11. You are hopeful when you proclaim that the very job of the Pope is to render the position obsolete in favour of equality. You would literally have to flip the pyramid on its head. I know the smartest kids in town these days. I’m connected to that generation of asthmatics and nihilists as a father and purveyor of modern pop culture sensibilities. We are sitting on the generation of change for any kingdom to be possible at this stage yet they understand the tide is so powerful, peaceful eviction is almost impossible. I believe any system can be outsmarted by a better system.

    This is the Alpha and the Omega – it’s nothing if not everyone has an equal share of its dignity and respect. Now is not the time to go silent on this generation – it is the time to unite under one common home and its inhabitants. Catholicism has a duty to come forward first. We can not sit and provide strategies on the saving of Catholicism when universally, we all need real-time, present scenario, saving and some of us are not begging at this stage in the game. It’s time to gaze up for a moment and see the opportunity before us as a people. We have the strength to effectuate a great change on the planet. If you don’t believe me, listen to Pope Francis speak to young people in Canada – do you think this conversation resonates with a current generation – you bet it does.

    This is our legacy and all of us should be running and hiding right now. What I’m proposing is a forgiveness for all scenario where the end becomes a new beginning for everyone involved.

    That must be worth brokering among interested parties if you can tap into intelligence (mercy). He inverted the pyramid…now what?

  12. Bernard Phelan says:

    I agree fully that the clergy tend to conflate the Kingdom with Heaven after death. I see what Sean means that while proclaiming a Kingdom which is here and now, we must also engage with the clerical Church which subverts this idea. Please God the example of Pope Francis will trickle down to the local Churches throughout the world. In the meantime I think we must do what we can to implement the Kingdom in our own lives and by our example draw back those who have been aleniated from the Church into communion again.

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