Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Final Word--again

The Final Word—again

I thought about it; I waited for some further clarification; I came to the conclusion that the Vatican is going to try and wait this one out.
What else could it do? This has been its modus operandi for all its 2000 years, hasn’t it? Can you cite one time when the Church leadership led? I can’t. There are all the usual suspects: Galileo, the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, Modernism, the Holocaust, priestly abuse.
But those are the easy ones. Think about the times that are specific to Catholics: birth control, liturgical reform, women’s roles, celibacy, Church governance. That’s my quick list. You probably have your own. But nowhere on all our lists are there examples when the Vatican has had the vision to see where things are headed, the foresight to encourage the study of issues and trends, and the guts to make some hard decisions about what needed to be changed—in order to preserve and pass on the teachings of Jesus.
Every example has ended in reaction. Ah, but the Church changes slowly, some say. I don’t care how slowly it changes; that’s not the issue. It could take 100 years to change—as long as for those 100 years it has been studying, inviting feedback, and engaged in dialog with all sorts of differing points of view.
Again, name me one example. It has instead used all its energy to close off debate, censure those who raise questions, and banish those who insist on pursuing open inquiry into the faith.
As I post this the papers again carry a story of the comments the Pope made at his latest general audience, expressing his sorrow and dismay at what “they” (the abuser priests) did, and to ensure the faithful that the Church will respond accordingly.
And so the waiting continues—for the Vatican it means waiting for the time when all this goes away; for the faithful it means waiting for some accountability for the cover-up still in place. I know which side I am on.

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