Wednesday, November 3

Francis Xavier and Ratzinger's church.

Reading through the hagiography of todays saints brings me to Francis Xavier and to a lot of other things which are swirling about.

As many would know, Francis Xavier was one of the original founders of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and was one of their principal missionaries.  In the course of a decade, he brought Christianity to southeast Asia (China specifically excepted), baptised tens of thousands etc. etc. etc.

Writing to his Superior General, Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier says:

"The country is so utterly barren and poor. The native Christians have no priests. They know only that they are Christians. There is nobody to say Mass for them; nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God’s Law. ... The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand: “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” - from letters to Saint Ignatius of Loyola from Saint Francis Xavier

So, Francis Xavier's  Kingdom of Heaven belongs to ignorant, poor savages believers who hunger to know about God.  It belongs to a group comprised entirely of the laity, not the Vicar of Christ and his corporate clerical colossus.  Obviously, this doesn't fit AT ALL with the current corporate ecclesiastical model of the Roman Church, but the current Pontiff is looking to 'reform' the church, you know.  He wants to make it a holier and 'purer' place for the faithful, devoid of relativists, luke-warm catholics and others who don't pass muster.  But all of this talk about 'right-sizing' the Roman Church, winnowing it to separate the chaff from the chaste, is aimed towards producing a new and improved (or, one might say, old and improved) Catholic church.

But, how can you have an universal church...a 'catholic' church....if you exclude people?  If we take Paul at his word in Galatians that we're "all one in Christ Jesus", then how can you say that wimmin-folk are 'less' than men?  If we're all made in the image and likeness of God, then that means God is gay, too.  If Christ can sit and break bread with both the wretched refuse AND the priests and righteous, then why is it so hard for his 'stand-ins' (the priests) to do the very same?

I know many people who have been welcomed to Christ's Table and yet are turned away by the maĆ®tre d’ and the waiters.  There are so many who are good enough for God but not pure enough for the Bulldog's 'leaner and meaner' church.  Xavier's vision of the Kingdom of Heaven doesn't have waiters, but neither did Christ's church.  

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