In the Gospel Jesus sent out his disciples, like sheep among wolves, to turn the hearts of people toward Godly living.
Bringing that Gospel up to today, who would those disciples be? Priests? Nuns? Bishops? Sure, they are Our Lord’s disciples, but they are not the only ones.
In Matthew’s Gospel, the last thing Jesus said on earth was, “Go, make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” So, the sacrament of Baptism is like priestly ordination. By it people are made Christ’s disciples. Every last one of us is being sent out to save people from the wolves.
Let me tell you about something I have been studying.
In 1950 when Pius XII was Pope, the most powerful one under him was Cardinal Ottaviani, the head of the Holy Office. As the Church’s official watchdog over Catholic Teaching, Cardinal Ottaviani banned teachers and their books when he saw them as straying from sound doctrine.
Back in 1950, Archbishop Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, was Rome’s delegate in Paris when Cardinal Ottaviani ruled against two French theologians. They were the Jesuit Father Lebac, and the Dominican Father Congar. The Cardinal had decided that they were wrong in treating clerics and laymen the same, and in treating Catholics and Protestants the same. Archbishop Roncalli, obediently passed on the Cardinal’s ban on the two theologians.
However, in 1962, when Roncalli had become Pope, he invited Father Lebac and Father Congar to come to Rome as official consultants on Catholic teachings. As such, they would be working under Cardinal Ottaviani, who was in charge of preparing Vatican II’s document on Catholic teaching.
Father Congar’s assignment brought on the need for him to sit down with Cardinal Ottaviani to discuss their differences.
In describing their meeting he wrote, We sat eye to eye and knee to knee. “
It was a meeting of sincerely held opposite views of what our Church should be. For Ottaviani the Church was the Counter Reformation. For Congar it was disciples going out announcing the Kingdom. At that meeting neither side budged, but at least they did sit down together as good Christians.