Some harsh words from God the Father in dialogue with St. Catherine of Siena as dictated by her while in a state of ecstasy to her secretaries.
“And I would that you know that, more darkness and division have come into the world amongst seculars and religious and the clergy and pastors of the holy Church, through the lack of the light of justice, and the advent of the darkness of injustice, than from any other causes.”
“Neither the civil law, nor the divine law, can be kept in any degree without holy justice, because he who is not corrected, and does not correct others, becomes like a limb which putrefies, and corrupts the whole body, because the bad physician, when it had already begun to corrupt, placed ointment immediately upon it, without having first burnt the wound. So, were the prelate, or any other lord having subjects, on seeing one putrefying from the corruption of mortal sin, to apply to him the ointment of soft words of encouragement alone, without reproof, he would never cure him, but the putrefaction would rather spread to the other members, who, with him, form one body under the same pastor. But if he were a physician, good and true to those souls, as were those glorious pastors of old, he would not give salving ointment without the fire of reproof. And, were the member still to remain obstinate in his evil doing, he would cut him off from the congregation in order that he corrupt not the other members with the putrefaction of mortal sin. But they act not so today, but, in cases of evil doing, they even pretend not to see. And do you know why? The root of self-love is alive in them, wherefore they bear perverted and servile fear. Because they fear to lose their position or their temporal goods, or their prelacy, they do not correct, but act like blind ones, in that they see not the real way by which their position is to be kept. If they would only see that it is by holy justice they would be able to maintain it; but they do not, because they are deprived of light.”
I do believe that these words apply now more than ever before. Many Priests and Bishops simply will not correct or reproof others, a clear neglect of the Spiritual Works of Mercy – to Instruct the Ignorant and to Admonish the Sinner.
This neglect causes such confusion and conflict.
Take as an example the actively homosexual person who dies. We’ve seen in recent news this very case being debated by a few of our Bishops. There is an intersection between the Corporal Work of Mercy to bury the dead, and an obligation at the same time to the Spiritual Works of Mercy to Instruct the Ignorant and Admonish the Sinner (the deceased person’s partner or family as an example). There needs to be greater teaching about this intersection between the Works of Mercy. Justice demands this teaching and clarification – the light whereby right Mercy can be applied. If we neglect the Spiritual Work of Mercy in this example situation, then we cause great scandal which could lead to the destruction of many souls – and what did it cost? We bury one dead person, but neglect hundreds whose souls may be dead. Yet, with a balanced approach we can still bury the dead appropriately if we also consider the Spiritual Works of Mercy.
Surely today’s Gospel “I desire Mercy not sacrifice”, is made more clear in the light of the Father’s words to St. Catherine. True Mercy applies the ointment only after having treated the wound.
God bless, and may All Saints pray for us. Amen.