Wednesday, October 25, 2023

It must be true. . .

In 2021 the news media rushed to judgment indicting the charitable work of Roman Catholic boarding schools, largely for indigenous children.  The narrative of the media was that these Roman and, to some extent other religious schools —officially called Residential Schools—had buried hundreds of children in unmarked “mass graves” over decades.  The schools were judged to be terrible places of torture, harsh discipline, and offensive conduct by the religious who ran them.  It began with the the alleged discovery of human skeletons under the ground on Native Land where these schools once operated.  The scandal grew until a pope and bishops were falling all over themselves to apologize and atone for their sins.  In the end, however, what were thought to be skeletons ended up not to be and the remains and unmarked mass graves were a fabrication.  Because of the way those who operated these schools were viewed today, it was readily believed and even if evidence could not be found, some decided it must be true.

While in some cases there was nothing, in other cases what was “discovered” were simply community cemeteries which had once been under the care of towns or parishes but had since become the property of the Native Reserves. If they were unmarked, it was because the Native Reserves had not replaced the wooden crosses that had deteriorated and disappeared over time.  Then, it was discovered that there were archive records and nothing was really unmarked or unknown.  Within the last 20 years or so, these Residential Schools were no longer viewed as they had been -- heroic institutions staffed by selfless people who offered native Canadians entrance into the official life of a nation, educated in the official language of Canada.  Now they were seen through the eyes of Western and Christian offenders against the cultural diversity.  Again, it must be true that their motive was just as evil as their execution.

The point is this.  Culture has come to view everything the Church is and does with suspicion.  All around us the most evil of motives are assigned as well as the worst possible construction on all the Church is and does.  The reason for this is that if it could be true, it must be true -- despite the evidence or lack thereof.  This is true in countless ways, fueled by the admitted failings of some (most vividly in our memory the priest sexual abuse scandals).  The Church cannot possible do good -- except when the Church listens to and echos the prevailing viewpoints of the world.  There is no room in this equation for giving the Church the benefit of the doubt or taking them at their word or viewing objectively the evidence.  So by this view, if the Church does not accept and even celebrate the gender explosion of late, they must be haters and phobes of one kind or another.  If the Church says anything pro-life, it must also be at the same time that they have a nefarious purpose in controlling the bodies of women.  You can go on and on.  However you may possible cast the Church and the faith in a negative light, that is how the media will portray the Church.  All the terrible things people think or fear of the Church no longer have to be met by any preponderance of evidence.  It must be true.  It has to be true.  It should be true.  That is what evangelization is up against in our world.  At least the pagan world of St. Paul was curious about and open to listening to the claims of early Christianity.  I am pretty sure most of the world has moved long past even that.


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