Back last night from a long weekend in Monterey, where my wife attended a conference and I explored the area. I'll have to say this: California does not lack in beautiful locales; nor does it lack in making those places expensive to enjoy! But as my wife would say, apropos of her field of geology: you don't get the majestic scenery unless you have the (geologic) faults.
Which leads me to say this: Pope Francis has already faded from the attention span of the traditionalists. What do I base this on? Not much, really. I did check in on the website also known as "The American Catholic," wanting to observe their take over the last two weeks. Their lone post on the papacy: Benedict's eclipse amidst the agenda of Francis. Why can't we appreciate who he was and what he stood for? Especially the robes he wore, it seems?
In other words: Is there a tectonic shift occurring in the Vatican? Can change happen at all without some destruction of the present structure? Those are the questions demanding most of the attention.
But the real question is this: Is there any way to assess and/or predict the movement happening deep down? I don't think so. I think we are in a position similar to that faced by geologists: we just don't know. We can study all we want about the different forces at work in the church, where one mighty force is pushing against another (I see the movement of the nuns' push for social justice being countered by the Vatican's intransigence and fall-back mantra of male superiority as the major example); but in the end we do not know how it will happen or when it will.
And for that we have not just the Holy Spirit, we have that very intransigence of the Vatican. Major changes (earthquakes) do not happen when two forces accommodate each other.
So, here's my take: First, just like many say the failure of Christianity is due to the fact that it has never been tried; so the failure of Vatican II--it too has never been tried.
And, second, when the next major set of changes happens in the church it's going to be the big one; it will make Vatican II feel like a 2.2 on the Richter scale, barely noticeable in the grand scheme of things.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
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