Friday, 9 March 2012

Eureka Street: Flatten the Church, level it to the ground...

Eureka Street today featured one of those headlines that I suspect they don't mean to be read quite the way I did when I first saw it, viz "Flattening the Church"! 

Yes well, they attempt to do that a lot over there...

Lay leadership revisited

It is actually a video plea from Robert Fitzgerald for more lay input into the running of the Church, for a genuine realization of the 'co-responsibility' that Pope Benedict XVI amongst others has talked about.

I actually have a deal of sympathy with his argument that we need ways that the laity can provide direct input into decision-making, in the same way that priests and religious organisations do.

Unfortunately, pretty much argument Fitzgerald uses to make his case is fundamentally flawed.

He argues that the laity feel betrayed by the 'unfulfilled promises of Vatican II'.  But just what words in the documents of Vatican II is he actually referring to?  Or is it just another case of 'Spirit of Vatican IIism'?

He argues that Scripture shows that Our Lord trusted and delegated to the laity - yet didn't he in fact invest authority first and foremost in the Apostles?

He argues that laypeople have shown they have the capacity to take a stronger role in parishes because they are so successful in running health, education and social services.  Except that in reality the mass exodus of the habited religious orders from these areas has demonstrably resulted in a loss of Catholic identify and ethos in these institutions.

The real challenge for any genuine lay engagement is how to do it in a way that preserves and respects the hierarchical constitution of the Church.

Otherwise the result will indeed be that we level what is left of the Church in Australia to the ground...

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