Tuesday, July 21, 2015
I THINK THE CHURCH AS A "FIELD HOSPITAL" IS A GOOD METAPHOR BUT WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS DONE TO HELP PEOPLE IN FIELD HOSPITALS
Pope Francis uses the metaphor of the Church as a field hospital treating the good, bad and ugly, even those who hate God and the Church (Blessed Mother Teresa was one of the first to developed hospices for gay men dying of aides, many of whom despised the Church, but she took them in and gave them a dignified death!).
But the metaphor of the Church as a hospital predates Pope Francis. I have often used the metaphor throughout my priestly ministry, not so much field hospital, but simply hospital: The Church is a hospital for sinners not a country club for saints!
But let's look at the Field Hospital metaphor and what happens in that context to bring about comfort for the dying and healing for those who can recover.
1. The proper diagnosis must be made. If someone is terminal, they are comforted until they die. Don't we give the Last Sacraments (Last Rites) to the dying and haven't we always done so, specially the comatose? Do we ask questions about their morality or church attendance? No! I have been called to the hospital in the middle of the night to anoint a fallen away Catholic who now comatose has no hope for eternal life except through the Sacramental ministry of the Church. I don't deny them the Last Sacrament!I put them into the hands of God and his merciful and just judgment.
2. Sometimes to help the dying to live, radical surgery is needed, no? We don't put a bandage on a leg that needs amputation. We cut the leg off and this leads to saving the person's life. A bandage would simple help the infection spread and kill the sick person.
We don't put medicine and a bandage on a dirty wound, we clean it out first!
We don't receive Holy Communion with a gangrenous soul. The sin which is the gangrene is removed through repentance and the Sacrament of Penance before the medicinal effects of Holy Communion can be realized and not thwarted.
What about moral diseases that could lead to eternal damnation. Do we place bandages on these but don't address the sin sickness? Do we tell the homosexual to remain in a promiscuous life? Do we encourage them to mock marriage and pock God in the Eye? No, a good spiritual doctor says, you've got to stop smoking! You've got to stop drinking and using drugs! You've got to have your leg amputated! You've got to your appendix removed! You've got to stop fornicating! You've got to stop being an adulterer! You've got to stop your sodomy! You've got to stop hating God and neighbor! You've got to stop hating the Church!
A field hospital that simply places bandages on festering, gangrenous wounds should be shut down! The same for the parish that does the same! Or new personnel need to replace incompetent ones in order for the field hospital to be effective!