|Sacrament of Baptism.|
Stained glass in St. Mary's Church, Fredericksburg, Va.
|St. Peter holding keys. |
Fresco in Church of Quo Vadis, Rome
These 2 approaches to challenging doctrinal and pastoral matters remain the ways in which the Spirit of Jesus leads the Church. No individual bishop, priest, sister, or lay person has the charism of leadership that Jesus gave to Peter and his successors, no matter how charismatic the individual, no matter how convinced the individual is of his or her own righteousness, no matter that some following gather around him or her, e.g. Fr. George Stallings in Washington, Fr. Jim Callan in Rochester, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre—you see them at both ends of the theological spectrum. You all remember the ad slogan, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Such individuals do a lot of talking and gain some listeners. But you may also remember that E.F. Hutton’s not around any more.
If the individual’s right, that will be borne out in due time under the Spirit’s guidance, e.g. Fr. John Courtney Murray, Fr. Henri du Lubac (later cardinal), to some extent Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. These remind me of Gamaliel’s advice about the apostles to the Sanhedrin in Acts 5 (vv. 34-39), to the effect that God will sustain what he has himself inspired.
|The Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church.|
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington