This is what the Church needs: more sowing, less pollination from worldly sources. The springtime experiment has failed.
|Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry - October: autumn sowing
Hoping for autumn sowing in the Church, not springtime pollination
I do not believe in the myth of the Vatican springtime, nor in the springtime of the Catholic Church and the Papacy. The Church must sow as is done in autumn and not be pollinated like an April flower. The owners of international public opinion, even the Catholic one, are demanding a new embracing of the present world, that is meeting it halfway, going along with the temperament of peoples and cultures, being skillful imitators, formalizing new rules of life in the Church which copy the criteria of the judgment of the world from the waves of modernity, from the 16th century onwards, thus abolishing old rules and cancelling old features.
If this is the case, it might be better [for the Church] to close up shop. The experiment of pollination has already been done. It was a highminded moment and it was certainly ambitious, but it has failed and it is not the fault of the Roman Curia if the way of treating old and new problems in the religion business has caused the numbing of souls, if hearts are not being warmed, and if faith and reason are not built upon that sovereign balance which was attempted by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
We already have the United Nations and UNESCO, we already have the universal philosophy of human rights, we have humanitarian consciousness and we have contemporaneous idols and myths such as equality, liberty and fraternity. In fact, we have a perennial breeze of springtime light that hides every semblance of pain, sin, redemption, of the supernatural, of interior and collective salvation, of penance, reconciliation and mercy. Furthermore, we have a realistic and mediocre idea of personal faith, seen as a lifestyle, not as an experience that cannot be explained, a greater, efficacious grace transcending conscience - a measure of irrationality inside rationality -, and also the exterior beauty of the evangelical vision, in imitation of Christ - of relying on the Messiah , God Incarnate.
The problem does not lie in allowing priests to marry; so be it. The problem is that, even if one is married or not, the flesh remains the place of concupiscence, the sweet pleasure of a moment, an instant, in contrast to the immaculate fragrance of trusting in the Eternal. If in governing the great body of the Church it were necessary to emancipate Her from the reformism of the great Pope Gregory VII (as Hans Küng suggests), and if this should be left to an assembly of debating bishops instead of the infallible Vicar of Christ - a theological elaboration which is becoming less and less Petrine and less and less Roman, more connected to the patterns of life and spirituality of those primitive, praying ethnic groups, which only the reforms of Paul, Augustine, Constantine and Gregory transformed into Ecclesia, into the People of God, into a universal institution, modeled on the pre-Christian and secular organization of the Roman Empire - then so be it, so may the will of the clergy and lay and progressive theology be done. But, in the end, what we will have is a copy of an already well-known Kantian moral-code bent to the demands of the childish hedonism of our times with no sign of grace nor a return to God - whatever this may mean for believers and unbelievers alike.
I hope that the [General] Congregations go to the root [of the problem], and that the sowing will begin, after years of pollination and abandonment.
[Italian daily Il Foglio
, Editorial, March 4, 2013. Translated and adapted by Contributor Francesca Romana]