November 28, 2017, Tuesday

“I agree with both sides in some ways. I can see the Pope’s point that the Church should be a ‘field hospital’ for wounded souls — hasn’t the Church always been this?… What bothers me is the lack of communication. Lack of communication fuels suspicion, which makes things worse, at a time when unity is needed more than ever. It seems the Church should be doing both with equal fervor — being a hospital for the soul and militant on all other fronts — the two are not incompatible.” —Linda Smith, an American reader of this newsflash, in an email to me earlier today

“The two are not incompatible”

This letter is written in the context of “Giving Tuesday” in the United States.

On the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it has become customary in the US for people to make a gift to a project or charity they would like to support.

We at Inside the Vatican magazine try our best to examine issues not from one side, or perspective, but by shining a light on the truth wherever it may be found, with both reason and grace, not on one “side” or the other. I try to continue with this same balance in the Moynihan Letters — my letters on the Church and the world today — the letter you are reading.

So, if you would like to support the work of Inside the Vatican magazine and the Moynihan Letters, please do so by going to this link. Even $10 or $25 or $50 will help us. More would (of course) help us more.

Continuing monthly gifts are especially appreciated, even if quite small. Even $2 per month turns into a helpful $24 per year, and $5 per month turns into a very helpful $60 a year. Such “continuing gifts” help our planning greatly.

So, if you would like to support us, please do so today: link.

And here below may be a reason to do so.

These letters may be of help in the current situation of the Church.

My letter yesterday focused on Cardinal Gerhard Mueller’s interview in the Sunday November 26 edition of Corriere della Sera in Italy. I translated the interview into English.

Mueller suggested that Pope Francis might profitably consider expanding the striking image of “field hospital” he has been using to describe the work and mission of the Church.

Mueller proposed introducing, as an organizing idea for the present mission and work of the Church, the idea of the Church being a spiritual “Silicon Valley” — an immense, global community of diverse people able to engage the world’s largely post-Christian culture effectively, intelligently and charitably, with technical skill and genius, on every issue of importance to modern society in order to reduce the number of wounds to souls who then come to the Church as to a “field hospital” for urgent care.

I received the following thoughtful response from a reader:

“This is fascinating for so many reasons. I agree with both sides is some ways.

“I can see the Pope’s point to be a hospital for wounded souls — hasn’t the Church always been this?

“It seems he wants to embrace the many, and maybe understands on a deeper level that the ‘real’ enemy is increasing in the world, and the Pope is trying to save souls.

“But what bothers me is the lack of communication, the dismissal of dedicated priests at top levels with no conversation, and the questions that still hang out there by many going unanswered about some of the Pope’s policies and views.

“Lack of communication fuels suspicion which makes things worse, at a time when unity is needed more than ever.

“It seems the Church should be doing both with equal fervor, being a hospital for the soul and a militant on all other fronts — the two are not incompatible.

“You made an excellent observation on what Mueller is proposing that has given me much to reflect upon: ‘Mueller’s proposal is a cultural, philosophical, literary and artistic battle, a battle for the souls of men and women, where the weapons are not guns and cannons, but articles and talks and homilies and, perhaps, even internet newsletters.’

“The war of words has never been more dangerous — the speed of instant messaging, social media and its ability to reach masses in lightning speed can be for good or evil. We are witnessing words being twisted to mean other things, as well as definitions such as marriage. It’s to the point that you can lose your job, or be shunned by your peers, or even silenced and not allowed to speak at all, like on college campuses, if you have a different opinion.

“I agree with you that counteracting the evil tide that has permeated social media, the mainstream media, college professors and on and on is an urgent and very difficult task. Yet it is a key part of being a ‘foot soldier’ for the good.

“Thanks for your excellent writing. I found your magazine in a client’s house (I’m a property manager). I confess I snagged it (it was old) with the two Popes on the cover and read every page. I can’t afford the subscription, but I am happy to get your emails.”

—Linda Smith, [email protected]

I would like to increase my efforts in this “war of words,” to help “counteract the evil tide” in the social media that Linda mentions, and to help the level of communication within the Church.

The Church can be both the “field hospital” Francis wishes her to be, and the “Silicon Valley” Cardinal Mueller would like her to be.

The two are not incompatible.

(to be continued)

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