Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pope John XXIII by Thomas Cahill

I was surprised by how clearly Cahill makes his thesis that the papacy as it has developed is contrary to the will of Christ for his church. He makes a compelling contrast between John XXIII himself who trusted the Holy Spirit to work in the church through the work of councils and fearful nay-saying popes who grasp at power and see the truth as something weak and in need of defense. As I witness the voice of the modern Roman Catholic Church I have lost any illusions I may have had that the Roman pontiff provides unity to the church. Monarchy by one bishop over the church only stiffles the people of God as they try to discern what the Holy Spirit who blows where she wills is saying.

I was struck with love for John as presented in this book. Warm, human, kind, fun, sincere, wise, discrete, willing to take risks for what is right, open to humanity, willing to find the good in all. Would that we could have hundreds of him today to help us in the church navigate the challenges presented to us today.

Does the Church have a lot of Crap that must go?

I suspect it does, but I somehow think we can also over-react to its perceived demise. The church only has a huge problem if we think the church must always be large, influential in our society, and representative of central currents of thought in our culture. But that is not necessarily so. True the Church is in a stage of change, however, with God's grace it all could be a blessing. The article linked below offers some reasons why the church is diminishing and offers some responses the community could make. I resonate with much here, however, think it exaggerates because much that it criticizes are characteristics that each society will develop in time, and the reasonable response is to manage them, not do away with them only to make room for new rank growth. But the main weakness in the article is that nothing excites us like a crisis. I suspect the change will be great, but I also suspect there will be developments which will give strength to the church of the future. I also think there is a current of anti-intellectualism which is misguided. We have to encourage much study and personal pursuit of holiness for the church to be the church. Education is critical and we need more, not less of it. Here is the article.