In the face of criticism, remember God is our audience, bishop advises


Bishop Jose Ignacio Munilla of Palencia in Spain said this week that amidst the attacks from secularism and relativism, the Church “needs interior freedom in order to carry out God’s will, which is justice, love and hope for all men.”


In a recent article, the bishop stressed the need to avoid judging others “in order to work in justice and in the truth.  Whoever is worried about the criticisms of others or about receiving praise will be unable to act in conscience.”


After telling the story of a father and son traveling on a donkey through various towns and changing places as they pass through each stage of the journey—the son on the donkey and the father walking, the father on the donkey and the son walking, or both walking beside the donkey—trying to please everyone who sees them and getting criticized by everyone, the bishop asked, “Isn’t the same thing that happened to the main characters in the story happening to the Church today?  Don’t we also have to acquire that interior freedom so that the life of the Church can be what God wants, without being intimidated by mockery, satire and fickle comments?”


“Sometimes the Church is accused of paternalism and/or authoritarianism: ‘Look at them…they speak ex cathedra and believe they have the truth!’ In a society in which the figure of the father, and even the very meaning of authority, is in complete crisis, there is an allergic reaction against the Magisterium of the Church.”


The Church is also misunderstood for her defense of the weakest, Bishop Munilla continued, in the same way that those who speak out publicly in the name of the Church are criticized and told that they should restrict their religious beliefs “to their consciences and to the sacristy.”


“We must not forget that the modern means of evangelization must be accompanied by prayer and penance in order for them to be efficacious and fruitful,” he said. The bishop also emphasized that Catholics “must not lose their peace over the fickle judgments and constant criticism that surrounds us.”  “This is the moral of the story: God is our audience! The Church needs interior freedom in order to carry out the will of God, which is justice, love and hope for all men,” the bishop said.

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