Holy Father promises greater Church discipline. Authentic Church life requires the values of obedience and forthrightness. In his sermon on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart last week, he promises greater discipline, the rod, to keep wolves at bay.
This falls in line with other concerns he's had more recently regarding heresy. It's going to be increasingly the case that Church leaders who do not ascent and teach the orthodox tenets of the Catholic Faith are going to find themselves out in the cold, like various Cardinals who have been finding themselves sidelined when it comes to important Curial meetings. It may go beyond that, however. Will the rebellious Austrian Clergy walk the road to Canossa?
"Your rod and your staff – they comfort me": the shepherd needs the rod as protection against savage beasts ready to pounce on the flock; against robbers looking for prey. Along with the rod there is the staff which gives support and helps to make difficult crossings. Both of these are likewise part of the Church’s ministry, of the priest’s ministry. The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod, the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray. The use of the rod can actually be a service of love. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented. As if it were no longer God’s gift, the precious pearl which we cannot let be taken from us. Even so, the rod must always become once again the shepherd’s staff – a staff which helps men and women to tread difficult paths and to follow the Lord.
Read the entire Sacred Heart Sermon, here.
h/t Rorate Coeli.
Photograph: New York Times, of a mostly neutralized but vocal, Archbishop Rembert Weakland.