Homiletic & Pastoral Review publishes article by Michael Vacca

Overcoming polarization within the Church – how? Michael Vacca, Director of Ministry, Bioethics, and Member Experience with CMF CURO recently had published an article in the prestigious Homiletic & Pastoral Review answering this question. He takes a look at the polarizations in our society and the divisions in the American Church and suggests that healing through the Sacraments is the answer.

He writes in part:

“Clearly, this division between life and social justice does not come from the teaching of the Church, nor the teaching of Christ, nor is it based in the truth; it is rather a microcosm of the polarization in society. Granting that those who identify more with the social justice issue in the Church do not generally disavow the necessity of being pro-life, nor do those who identity more with the pro-life issue generally disavow the necessity of social justice, it remains the case that the moral and political positions of those in the Church are reflective of the broader cultural debate about the proper role of the human person in relation to society. Instead of the Church setting the tone for the culture, the Church is taking her cues from the culture. It is time to reverse that disastrous trend.

“What is missing in the Church is a consistent ethic of life that connects life, the natural family, concern for the marginalized, and justice for the poor. The Church needs to own this ethic of life rather than co-opting political talking points. Clearly, when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issues a statement on immigration, an issue that faithful Catholics can legitimately disagree about, but not on New York’s radical embrace of abortion, an issue that faithful Catholics cannot disagree about, we are lacking a consistent ethic of life and piecemeal responding to societal issues based upon one’s political predilections, rather than one’s evangelical convictions. How has this happened and how should we as the Body of Christ respond?

“In short, the division in our Church mirrors the division in society because the Sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ have become disconnected from the moral life. Evangelization is about introducing people to the person of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the Sacrament from which flow all seven Sacraments of the Church, His Bride. Catechesis is about connecting the Sacraments to the moral life, so that how we live is consistent with the gift of Himself Christ gives to us in the Sacraments. The link between Christ and the moral life, between the Sacraments and the moral life, has been severely weakened. By restoring this vital link between the Sacraments and the moral life, the Church can own an ethic of life that forms our culture and overcome the polarization that characterizes the broader culture.”