Wednesday, April 29, 2020

No Imagination: The Fundamental Failure of the Church in Face of the Pandemic

What the Catholic response to the pandemic, especially in the US, has shown us about the brutal impoverishment of the Catholic moral, spiritual, and theological imagination at this point in history:

No imagination to view all of creation sacramentally, to celebrate divine presence everywhere in the created world.

No imagination to see every meal shared around a table as sacramental, a reminder that the eucharist is itself first and foremost a shared meal.

No imagination to see sacramentality everywhere, in fresh running water, in air moving across the tops of trees, in newly baked bread, in hands held around a table.

No imagination to reshape the entire sacramental system of the church so that the focus is shifted from the gross view prevailing now of sacrament-as-thing owned by a clerical caste jealous of its prerogatives and privileges.

No imagination to make the sacramentally present Christ more present to the people of God.

No imagination to celebrate the priestly people of God, who are the only context in which priesthood of any member of the community makes any sense at all.

No imagination to understand the church as the sacramental sign of God’s divine salvific presence everywhere in the world – a world that is not enemy of church and God, but the locus of Holy Sophia’s presence.

No imagination to welcome the gifts of women and to share priestly ordination with women called to that vocation – at a time when church leaders mourn the dearth of clerical vocations.

No imagination to love LGBTQ people, to bless them as an essential part of God’s creation, to bless the marriages of loving, committed same-sex couples.

No imagination to recognize that the refusal to love, welcome, offer healing to survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures undermines the most fundamental claims the church makes about itself.

No imagination to sunder the heavy chains the church has placed on itself in making itself captive to ruthless capitalism.

No imagination to understand how absurd the church makes itself and its preaching when it claims to bless Donald Trump because he is “pro-life,” as it simultaneously blesses his plans to send lower-status workers back to work while CEOs shelter themselves and their families and rake in millions that should be used to protect workers.

No imagination to recognize that it’s the glaring lack of imagination, something a community that claims to be under the guidance of Holy Sophia should be bursting at the seams with, trying to channel and contain, which is driving countless people from the dry, unappealing travesty-shell the church has made of itself at this time.

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