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Abp. Cordileone is One More Foundation Stone as Pope Benedict Fortifies the Church
By Deacon Keith Fournier
August 5th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The selection of ArchBishop Salvatore Cordileone is good news for the Church. From the beginning of his service to the Church, Pope Benedict XVI has been about rebuilding. When his papacy is recounted, his apostolic work will be credited with having re-secured the Catholic Church in a time of trial so that she could inaugurate a new missionary age for the Third Millennium.I believe that the Archbishop was chosen precisely because he is up to this challenge. He will be installed on October 4th, the Feast of Saint Francis, the patron of San Francisco. He is also the Saint who heard the words of the Lord "Go, and Rebuild my Church."
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. (Catholic Online) - From the beginning of his service to the Church, Pope Benedict XVI has been about rebuilding. When his papacy is recounted, his apostolic work will be credited with having re-secured the Catholic Church in a time of trial so that she could inaugurate a new missionary age for the Third Millennium. I believe that a primary part of that vital legacy will also credit him with halting the slide of western civilization into a new paganism. The Church is the only hope to preventing such a slide. She is not some irritant, preventing progress, she is the very path to authentic progress and human flourishing.
The Church is God's plan for the whole human race. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read these words, "To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood."(CCC #845)
This understanding of the Church as a participation in Christ and entry into the Trinitarian Communion runs throughout the writings of the early Church Fathers. In the words of the Church father Origen: "Christ has flooded the universe with divine and sanctifying waves. For the thirsty he sends a spring of living water from the wound which the spear opened in His side. From the wound in Christ's side has come forth the Church, and He has made her His bride"
Bishop Ireneaeus of Lyons, a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John wrote of the Church: "We need to take refuge with the Church, to drink milk at her breast, to be fed with the scriptures of the Lord. For the Church has been planted in the world as a paradise" The early Christians did not see the Church as something onerous or optional, they saw it as normative for every Christian and life giving for the whole world. We do not make the Church in our image, the Church re-makes us into Christ's Image through the grace which is mediated through the Sacraments, revealed in His Word and experienced in our ecclesial life together. The Church also calls the world home to the plan of God in his loving creation and re-creation through His Son.
One of the better articles summarizing some of the challenges the Archbishop will face was written by Joan Frawley Desmond for the National Catholic Register and entitled "Pope Benedict Picks 'Father of Prop. 8' for San Francisco Archdiocese" She sets the backdrop, "Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., will succeed Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco, assuming a prominent role in a city that is seen as a major center of the homosexual-rights movement. During an era of more aggressive advocacy for same-sex "marriage," the striking appointment will yield unpredictable, possibly explosive consequences for both the local Church and the U.S. bishops' national effort to defend traditional marriage and religious freedom against a hostile, increasingly secular current."
I believe that the Archbishop was chosen precisely because he is up to this kind of challenge. He will be installed on October 4th, the Feast of Saint Francis, the patron of San Francisco. He is also the Saint who heard the words of the Lord "Go, and Rebuild my Church." We must pray for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone as he undertakes this new assignment. However, we should also take great comfort that this appointment, like the selection of Cardinal Dolan to lead the faithful in New York and his election by his brothers to lead the entire body of US Bishops, is a sign that the Lord is using this wonderful Pope profoundly as the Church continues her mission in this hour. Similarly, the placement of Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Gomez in Los Angeles, Archbishop Lori, ArchBishop Wenske... and the list goes on, are signs of the gift who is Pope Benedict XVI.
In continuity with the 2,000 year teaching of the Catholic Church and helping to ensure that the proper understanding of the great treasure left by his predecessor, and the proper understanding of the Second Vatican Council within a hermeneutic of continuity becomes reality, Pope Benedict XVI is re-securing the foundation stones of the Catholic Church in the United States. His selection of Bishops proceeds from the conviction that the Church - and the message of authentic and true human progress which she offers the world - is what is needed in this critical hour in human history.
There is a propaganda effort to portray those who adhere to the Jewish and Christian vision of the dignity of the human person, the primacy of true marriage and family and the necessary moral foundation of a truly free and just civil society as "backward." Catholics are often portrayed as proposing a return to some perceived "dark age". In fact, it is the Church which leads us out of dark ages like the one we are currently in. In fact, she offers the world the path to true progress.
Pope Benedict XVI is placing over the Church the shepherds we need in this pregnant moment of Church history. I believe that he is leading the Church into a new Missionary age and a coming Catholic Millennium. Though things may at times seem dark, I believe even more than I did on that day when I heard those words "Habemus Papem" that Benedict XVI is laying the foundation for the springtime that his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, prophetically anticipated. I know that in some Catholic circles the notion of a "New Springtime" is mocked. I will not join the cynics. Let me conclude by mentioning a few of the many signs of Spring.
The Personal Ordinariates for returning Anglicans represent the beginning of a great homecoming in the Western Church. It is Benedict the Builder who drew the blueprint, ensuring orthodoxy and orthopraxy within legitimate diversity. We are witnessing the beginnings of the coming full communion of the Church, East and West, as the "two lungs" on the One Body of Christ begin to breathe together again in order to animate this new missionary age.
We are beginning to witness the recovery of the Catholic academy through the rebuilding of some institutions almost lost to the Church and the building of new ones. We are seeing the flourishing of good, solid theological and philosophical work along with a flourishing of the arts and human culture, led by the Church, as it has been in ages past. Pope Benedict XVI, like his namesake St. Benedict, is helping as well to bring the Christian influence back to Europe and beyond.
This task of re- building has not been easy. And, it will probably get even more difficult. The old adage is true; it always seems darkest before the dawn. Those who wanted to try to change the teaching and doctrine of the Church are deeply disappointed. However, for all of us who hunger for a vibrant, faithful, dynamically orthodox Catholic Church, the source of all truth, the God who is Truth, has once again been true to his promise to Peter, "upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her". (Matt. 16:18) Archbishop Cordileone is one more foundation stone as Benedict the Builder fortifies the Church for a New Missionary Age.
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