Second Rule of Discernment (or) How we rescue the Church, by Dr. Jeff Mirus

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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Dec 08, 2020

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

I had an engaging exchange with an interested party on Facebook recently on the question of what we could best do to resolve the problems—indeed the crisis—in which the Church finds herself today. That crisis varies from place to place, but what was under consideration in this case was the incredible pusillanimity of the Church from top to bottom in the West. Pusillanimity is a good, biting word meaning “lack of courage or determination; timidity”. It derives from “pusillus”, meaning very small, plus “animus”, meaning mind or soul. So what do we do about the small minds and shrunken souls of so many in the Church, at all levels, who cannot even conceive of themselves as sacrificing their own worldly comforts and convenient worldly ideas to follow Christ.

In recent reading, I noticed that Cardinal Pell highlighted the problem at the upper levels of the Church in his Prison Journal, when he asked:

What do some of the reform forces in the Church want to change? They never put all their cards on the table. It was a moment of awakening for me when I claimed to a high European prelate that the first criterion for a good bishop is that he would witness to the Catholic and apostolic faith. My interlocutor frothed with indignation and disapproval. [Entry for March 16, 2019]  …