…would be one that looks out for her members, protects, feeds, and fosters them, maintains a sheepfold, brings back those who stray, drives away wolves and bears, and is ready to sacrifice the personal interests of her pastors—for example, their worldly standing and reputation—to their flock’s well-being.
“Pastoral” isn’t an either/or proposition like inside/outside or inward/outward. But, pastorally speaking, what is primary for pastors “is the good of the flock, and in particular the specific goods entrusted to the Church for their benefit.” Kalb observes:
Jesus said he came so that his people might have life more abundantly. More specifically, he said he came to give eternal life, which he identified with knowing God. So it seems our pastors’ job is to help those willing to accept the Christian way attain a better life in this world, and then eternal beatitude, by growing closer to God.
- Cultivating the theology of God, man, and society, more or less in that order, to lead the faithful into the truths that make them free and help them become what God meant them to be and they most truly are.
- Reminding the faithful to stop being so weak and wavering in the world they inhabit and, instead, to fast, pray, frequent the sacraments, love God and neighbor, and become a living saint.
- Challenging the faithful to be healthy by losing excess weight, getting regular exercise, eating a healthy balanced diet, keeping all of one’s New Years’ resolutions, not wasting time pointlessly, and doing many other things they are not likely to do more than a day or two at a time in order to live effectively as Catholics.
In sum, a pastoral Church would:
- be concerned about the weak and wavering who nonetheless want to adhere to the Church;
- insist on giving people what is specifically the Church’s to give;
- teach clearly, catechize, ensure the solidity of Catholic schools, scholarship, and publications, and insist that the Church’s teachers accept Church teaching;
- provide good examples through the conduct of Her clergy; and,
- enforce at least minimal standards on everyone.
Read the rest here.
Kalb views this definition of pastoral as expressing genuine concern for the environment, namely, the environment that promotes Catholic life. What this definition excludes is being concerned about popularity in the media, garnering the most Facebook “likes,” and contributing to au currant social projects like environmentalism. As Kalb notes, “It is not those things but Christ and the salvation of souls that are Her highest law. In times of trouble She should specially rally around those standards.”
Let the discussion begin…
To read Kalb’s article, click on this link: