“The crisis in the Church is man-made and has arisen because we have cozily adapted ourselves to the spirit of a life without God,” said Cardinal Gerhard Mueller to the thousands of Catholics gathered in Phoenix for the 2020 Student Leadership Summit hosted by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).
He cautioned that even a number of people in the Church are “longing” for a kind of Catholicism without dogmas, without sacraments, and without an infallible magisterium.
“But the one who believes needs no ideology,” he said. “The one who hopes will not reach for drugs. The one who loves is not after the lust of this world, which passes along with the world. The one who loves God and his neighbor finds happiness in the sacrifice of self-giving.”
The pontiff was outside St. Peter’s Basilica on New Year’s Eve, walking down the rope line, stopping to shake hands with the cheering crowd, and there was a woman crosses herself and folds her hands, as if in prayer, as the pope draws closer. She stares intently, but he has begun to turn away. She reaches out and grabs him, with one hand, then another. She yanks him backward and will not let go.
The Pope reacted sharply, exclaimed something and then slapped her hand so she would let him go. In his impromptu remarks on Wednesday, Francis said people often lose patience, including him.
“Love makes us patient,” he said, adding, after briefly choking up, “We often lose our patience; me, too, and I apologize for my bad example last night.”
According to Archbishop Moussa, after the so-called Islamic State devastated 95% of the Right Bank (west side) portion of the city, fourteen churches were completely destroyed, along with 4 monasteries. Life there is far from normal. The terror spread by ISIS also left a scar on inter-religious relations, and now many Christians are hesitant to return home.
The Archbishop said the Church cannot be silent, and works to protect those Christians who remain in Iraq. Archbishop Moussa concedes that reconstruction in Mosul, and throughout Iraq, will be a long and difficult process.
“But today,” he said, “the faith of Christians in Iraq is much stronger than yesterday.”