By Jamie O’Brien and Josh Low
This is a continuation from the article “Year of Youth – How do we form youth into disciples of Jesus?” The first part can be found here: https://bit.ly/2OAaAvK
Originally from the Diocese of Toledo, OH in the United States, Official of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Father Walter (Tad) Oxley’s role in the congregation (part of the Roman Curia), involves the promotion and defence of Catholic doctrine.
Fr Oxley sat down with The Record’s Jamie O’Brien and Josh Low in Rome, covering a wide range of topics regarding the Catholic Church, both in Australia and abroad. In this second part of the interview, he speaks about secularisation in society and what the Church and its faithful can do in the face of it.
Fr Oxley believes that the situation in Australia calls us to rely more on God and less on the institutional dimension of the Church itself.
“What do we do when we get into situations of persecution, if you will? A situation of the secular mind not seeing the value of for instance, priestly celibacy, chastity or of marriage being between a man and a woman.
“What do we do when the institution of the Church kind of gets crushed by that?
“What happens is that then we need to be more faithful to the fundamentals, which is Christian holiness, and allow ourselves to rise up and say yes to God,” Fr Oxley said.
He added that being Catholic today is completely different to being Catholic in the 1960s or even the 1980s.
“I think there will be less of that cultural or external Catholicism in which people say that they are Catholic but aren’t really desiring to become holy,” he said.
“We are going to need to rise. How? Although we’re called to bear witness in the public square, we can’t rise by fighting but by the holiness of our own lives in which the Spirit will call us to say what we believe when we’re asked.
“Otherwise we’re lights of charity and love. When we need to testify to the truth, we will and the Holy Spirit will enable us to.”
Fr Oxley said we are in the face of a mega church phenomenon and an evangelical Christianity, but added that it could have a positive effect on the future of the Catholic Church.
“Intentional discipleship is sort of the way into the future in Catholicism.
“The evangelical Christians are talking about Jesus regularly, in the church and out of the church so that has the positive effect of calling us as Catholics to be more radically Christian, and more intentionally Christian within the Catholic Church,” he explained.
“That is not to water down our Catholicism, because we have the fullness of truth, but we can allow our evangelical brothers and sisters and the way that the Spirit is working through them to challenge us to become more radically Christian ourselves, in the Catholic way of doing so, which is fully sacramental and in union with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.”