It would seem that the Catholic Church is in great crisis. If we read information about the situation of the Church in Europe or the US we might think like that. Because what is happening there affects the whole world. But the Church is a community of people that should be distinguished from other organizations and social groups. According to the Second Vatican Council, the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ (cf. CCC 790). Therefore, even if the disease affects part of the community, it does not mean that the whole organism will die soon.
Evidence of this can be found in the growth of Catholic Church in Asia, especifically on Flores island in Indonesia. Every Sunday all churches are filled with parishioners there. In addition, the basic communities take the responisibility for themselves and start to build new churches on their own. It means without financial help and support from the richer European countries. Moreover, religious communities that were founded by people from Europe are self-sufficient. The superiors also are Indonesians.
Sure, the Catholic Church in Indonesia also has its problems. However, despite all kinds of difficulties, Catholic faith is flourishing in Flores. The proof is being seen in the new religious and priestly vocations. For example, only from one of the SVD parishes which is located in Mangulewa (near the city of Bajawa, central part of Flores) more than 20 people began their formation this year. In the major seminary in Ledalero, almost 160 new candidates applied for studies. But only 90 were accepted due to the requirements.
How can we understand the mistery of the Church? How can we find solution to the problems that affect the Catholic Church in the world? Maybe, we should learn from the biography of Saint Augustine and his personal conversion, instead of accusing one another. The attitude of humility gives us a chance to start a dialogue with God as well with people who need more to be loved than to be given orders.
The crisis is not a bad time to reflect on the situation of the Catholic Church. In fact, this may be the best time to review your priorities. Thus, all of us can come back to the "first love" of those who had joined the Church because they found in it the opportunity for the personal conversion and sanctification. Young Catholics in Asia teach us respect for nuns, priests and missionaries. Let us look for the beauty that radiates from the Church. We should not focus on the sins of our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Prayers of SVD
May the darkness of sin
and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word
and the Spirit of grace
and may the Heart of Jesus live
in the hearts of all people.
(Saint Arnold Janssen)