Realism Versus Idealism
Welcome to January’s issue of Liguorian, where our theme is diversity and unity. For me, the theme has a special resonance as I think about Pope Francis and his inspirational words and actions.
In a general audience in October, the Pope addressed the joy and power that can be found in diverse backgrounds and cultures:
“The Church does not rest solely beneath the shadow of our steeple; rather, she embraces a vast number of peoples and nations who profess the same faith, are nourished by the same Eucharist, and are served by the same pastors,” the Pope said. “To feel that we are in communion with the whole Church, with all of the Catholic communities of the world great and small! This is beautiful!”
In an orchestra, he said, the sounds of individual instruments are enhanced—rather than diminished— by the diversity of sounds around them.
“It is a beautiful image which tells us that the Church is like a great orchestra in which there is great variety,” he said. “We are not all the same, and we do not all have to be the same. We are all different, varied, each of us with our own special qualities. And this is the beauty of the Church: Everyone brings his own gift, which God has given him, for the sake of enriching others.”
The Pope’s actions speak just as eloquently. He embraces the poor and welcomes little children to the altar. He has said it is not his place to judge gay people. He has washed the feet of prisoners and Muslims.
The open heart in action seems to me consistent with the work of the Redemptorists, whose founder, St. Alphonsus, reached out to the poor and abandoned, and who urged his preachers to speak to people in words they understand.
As Liguori Publications continues to examine its place with the people of God, we will be inspired and guided by the Redemptorists, by St. Alphonsus, and by the pope. And we will recognize what a beautiful thing it is that the Church is so diverse.