Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Catholic Scholars Call for "New System of Authority" in the Church

In this period leading up to the election of a new pope, Catholic scholars from around the world have released a statement calling for a "new system of authority" in the Catholic church, "based on Gospel teaching and genuine co-responsibility as demanded by Vatican II." The heart of the statement's argument:

The exercise of authority in our church should emulate the standards of openness, accountability and democracy achieved in modern society. Leadership should be seen to be honest and credible; inspired by humility and service; breathing concern for people rather than preoccupation with rules and discipline; radiating a Christ who makes us free; and listening to Christ's Spirit who speaks and acts through each and every person.

A nice statement. But I seriously doubt that anyone in Rome is listening. In my view, as well, the thinking of far too many lay Catholics has been tragically malformed by poor religious education under the present pontiff and his predecessor, and the solid core of Catholics who remain active and committed (as opposed to the many Catholics hanging on at the margins, who are no longer actively involved in the life of the church) would be just as happy to have a rigidly authoritarian pope as they'd be happy to have one who adheres to the vision of Vatican II.

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