Memorial of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

When we think ahead to that great fulfillment for which we, as Christians, should long, let us remember that it will not be a private affair. It will be public and communal. We will not be isolated from our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we will live in a community. The New Jerusalem is named after a city for a reason. There is perhaps no greater rebuke to contemporary individualism than this theme from Scripture.

This is the fundamental reason why the Church speaks on social and public moral issues. St. Ambrose, for example, famously excommunicated the Emperor Theodosius, who had committed a grave sin connected to the slaughter of innocent people in the city of Thessalonica. Because of this appropriately stern action and because of the grace of God, the Emperor submitted to public penance and was forgiven. Many people might wonder today why the Church doesn’t just leave people alone – thank God she doesn’t!

December 7th, 2013