Pope Francis has suggested that today’s Church needs to find a middle path — between “hostile rigidity” and a “false sense of mercy.”
What would Blessed Paul VI say about all this? Perhaps he foresaw today’s situation when he wrote: “The center is Christ, Christ alone…the center is Jesus, and JESUS CRUCIFIED.” (his caps) The Pope Speaks (Meredith Press, 1967)
While addressing the United Nation on October 4, 1964, Pope Paul VI suggested that the UN project was not built merely on material and earthly foundations, if so it would be a house built on sand; but “above all, it is based on our own consciences. The hour has struck for our “conversion”, for personal transformation, for interior renewal. We must get used to thinking of man in a new way; and in a new way also of men’s life in common; with a new manner too of conceiving the paths of history and the destiny of the world, according to the words of Saint Paul: “You must be clothed in the new self, which is created in God’s image, justified and sanctified through the truth” (Eph. 4:23). The hour has struck for a halt, a moment of recollection, of reflection, almost of prayer. A moment to think anew of our common origin, our history, our common destiny. Today as never before, in our era so marked by human progress, there is need for appeal to the moral conscience of man. For danger comes, not from progress, nor from science—indeed, if properly utilized, these could rather resolve many of the grave problems which assail mankind. No, the real danger comes from man himself, wielding ever more powerful arms, which can be employed equally well for destruction or for the loftiest conquests.”
Both the so-called Traditionalists and Progressives in the American Catholic Church dismissed various teachings of Pope Paul VI. The liberals wanted birth control (even abortion) and the conservatives, wars-of-choice — with neither becoming the “new man” in Christ, but instead following the God of their imagination. As a result, God is not reigning in people’s hearts, and the local Church is less a sign and instrument of universal salvation.