“16 And he shall convert [ἐπιστρέψει] many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias; that he may turn [ἐπιστρέψαι] the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous [ἀπειθεῖς] to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.”
–– Luke 1
19 My brethren, if any of you err from the truth, and one convert [ἐπιστρέψῃ] him: 20 He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted [ἐπιστρέψας] from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.”
–– James 5
«…ma comunque non ne ho alcuna intenzione.»
–– Papa Francesco
If “defending the Church” means shooting the wounded, then consider me a conscientious objector. As the Church is the immaculate Bride of Christ, Her faith and holiness are indefectible and inviolable. The faith of Her members, by contrast, is subject to every manner of temptation, doubt, and assault. The Church, the blessed Mystical Body of Christ, is going to be just fine; some of her children, not so much. My choice as a godly gadfly is akin to the choice we face between loving “humanity in general” and loving concrete human beings, between loving “society at large” and loving our actual neighbors. Not much of a dilemma, really.
If I’m going to defend anyone, it’s going to be those who are actually in danger of losing their faith, not Her whose holiness is in no danger, yet whose repute is compromised by clannish defenses of the indefensible. Loose lips may not sink The Ship, but they undeniably have the power to blast to bits the more vulnerable hands on deck. For the first time I can at least understand the link Rod Dreher sees between that previous fiasco of “protecting the Church” and this latest wave of doing so with “spiritual” bromides.