Church Militant

The Communion of Saints is the gathering of the saints still in earthly life, the saints in purgatory, all of whom will enter heaven, and the saints in heaven.

The Church Militant is responsible for fighting the Spiritual War.

At the same time, the Church Militant has to avoid the temptation to become the Church Belligerent. Charity is the greatest of the three theological virtues 1 Cor 13:13. The Church Militant does not live in an antagonistic relationship with the world, but rather works to overcome the imperfect and sinful dimensions of human existence by convincingly preaching the Gospel and by the good works and example of those who are baptized into Christ . The Church Militant’s best asset is the saintly activity and example of those who have chosen the Christian way of life Rom 6:35.

Some years ago Mother Miriam and I were discussing the Spiritual War within the context of the Formative Professions, in particular Holy Orders. We both agreed on Father Don Calloway‘s intensely masculine warrior priest model. A priest is the spiritual father of his parish family. I said we had to fight like tigers to protect Holy Mother Church. She immediately said no, we fight like sheep, and reminded me of Rabbi Paul‘s observation:

Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong 2 Cor 12:810.

Mother Miriam was right, as she usually is. When we reflected on Pope Pius XII‘s defense of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, it was clear that he used the methods of both the tiger, by his own power, and the sheep, by the Shepherd’s power Jn 10:11, but by far most often the sheep.