Catholics feel that the boat is rocking.
“Who’s rocking the boat?”
“There’s too much weight on the right!”
“No, you on the left aren’t pulling your weight, we’re going in circles”
“Just row!” the bishops shout.
“Do you even know where we’re going?” the people shout back, “Who’s in charge here?”
The truth is, the Catholic Church has been rocking because it is caught in the middle of a huge storm. Like the disciples in the Gospel, we’ve been trying to get this little boat across this lake but the wind is against us and we’ve never seen waves this high (Matthew 14:22-33).
Those outside the boat are the ones most convinced that the Church is in trouble – young people are leaving, everyone believes in contraception and divorce, celibacy is a failure, and the morality of the Church is so out of touch that we are all rowing against the wind! They suggest we should turn around, and row with the wind, and things will be smoother. The problem is, the people outside the boat seem to be treading water and clinging to wreckage.
From inside the Church, I must say that things actually do not look hopeless. The Church is practically the only thing floating in this storm, as small as she is, there are no leaks in the boat, so as long as we keep bailing we’ll be okay. The next generation is turning out to be good at rowing. It would be nice if we could stop screaming from time to time when the boat rocks. The only discouraging thing is that in all this storm it is hard to tell if we are making any progress.
All the conversation about turning the boat around and going with the wind, allowing contraception and a more open stance to abortion, giving up celibacy, making divorce an option, and accepting homosexual marriage, does not seem to lead anywhere. They only reason we are in the middle of the lake is that Jesus asked us to row to the other shore. We just have to keep the boat pointed in that general direction and row…sooner or later Jesus will quiet the storm, He always has before.