.- Bishop Juan Ruben Martinez of Posadas, Argentina, said this week that in an age marked by individualism it is common that many people call themselves “Catholic” but they make choices and live in ways that are not compatible with the Church.
“It is important to say this because in our age individualism is very strong. There is no shortage of those who call themselves ‘Catholic’ and whose opinions, choices and way of life are not compatible, nor are they in communion with the Church,” the bishop said.
Bishop Martinez recalled that “through Baptism Christians become part of the Church. Our faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord, has a personal commitment dimension on the hand, and a community or ‘ecclesial’ dimension on the other.”
“Without the communal-ecclesial reference point, we end up altering the Word of God to fit our own wishes, desires and ideologies,” he warned.
The bishop recalled a paragraph from the Argentinean Bishops’ document, “Set out into the Deep,” in which they emphasize that “all Christians are called to live our faith in community, in the Church. Because God does not call us to individualistic holiness, isolated from one another. The Trinity invites us to communal holiness and to a common mission.”
“It is in the community of the Church,” said Bishop Martinez, “where our faith is formed, where we receive encouragement in the midst of difficulties, and where we receive forgiveness for our sins, and above all, where we receive the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of the Lord. The simple and profound faith of our people calls us to ‘communion’ at this time.”
Bishop Martinez reiterated that “without this communal dimension of the faith, it will be difficult for us to adopt a spirituality and a Christian commitment in our ways of thinking, our judgments and our behavior.”