(Advance apologies to BF.)
Archbp. Sean and the hierarchy have a historical problem. They
run an essentially feudal institution that does not sit well with
notions of democratic governance. And in late democracy, people
have more and more unwilling to retain the feudal elements in their
lives in any more than a ceremonial, quaint, and castrated sense.
So in the developed world, the Roman church has found its influence
more and more on the wane, while Protestant sects (which are
fundamentally more comfortable with democracy, on some level)
flourish. I’d predict that as democracy becomes a more inculcated
value in the areas of the world where the Roman church is strongest
now, the church will look more and more the fool that it plays right
now. Can anyone say that this latest escapade isn’t worthy of a
sick episode of Laurel and Hardy (except that L&H didn’t hurt
people)? How can absolutism compete when it’s surrounded by individual empowerment?
I’m willing to go along with the (whole) Church’s notion that simply
something is popular does not mean that the Spirit works within
that. But I think the Roman hierarchy have missed the
counter-notion that simply
because an idea, course of action, or doctrine becomes “evident” in the
mind of a fairly miniscule group of clergy that it has any more
validity. The time has come, especially with the
professionalization of the Catholic laity (many of whom have
exceedingly more organizational and theological training than their
leaders), to drop the notion that discipline and doctine may only
derive authority from the top of the hierarchy. If there’d been a
role that laity were allowed to play, these b****** bishops wouldn’t be
office. And spitefully executed closings would be the least of
the evils probably eliminated–two generations of children wouldn’t
have the scars of sexual abuse.
I’m not the only one angry about this. Among others, Mayor Menino said,
”We were making progress, and where’s the credibility now? Where’s the
credibility in the decision-making process? Why don’t we have a say in
what’s going on? It’s our church.”
”We own those schoolhouses, and we own those churches,” he said. ”Our
parents and grandparents have paid over and over again to fix the
boilers and replace the roofs and repair the windows and to pay for the
priests and the nuns, and how dare they tell us now that it’s not our
building and change the locks and deny our kids their diplomas?
”They had four pedophile priests assigned over the years to Our Lady
of the Presentation, and now they want to protect the children? Isn’t
that refreshing? I’m not the best Catholic out there, but these are the
supposed elders of the Catholic faith, and they’ve made a mockery of
No, Tom and Jerry, they are not your
churches. Not technically, not organizationally, and not in the
eyes of the hierarchy. This just shows that for all the talk that
the church is its people, the leaders think that they are the church and that the people are either accessories to the ordained or too much like children to really matter.
I like to think that I have become more of a Catholic since I became an
Anglican, but this reminds me how infintely Protestant I still
am. And wish to be. And, while I hope we Protestants (and via media semi-Protestants) can
learn from and someday come back into unity with the Roman church, there’s still a lot
of reform and witness that the Roman church has to learn from us.
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