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Archive for November 1st, 2013

Francis’ Latest Mess

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According to The National Catholic Reporter:

“The Vatican has asked national bishops’ conferences around the world to conduct a wide-ranging poll of Catholics asking for their opinions on church teachings on contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce.

Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops, asked the conferences to distribute the poll ‘immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received.’

The poll, which comes in a questionnaire sent to national bishops’ conferences globally in preparation for a Vatican synod on the family next October, is the first time the church’s central hierarchy has asked for such input from grass-roots Catholics since at least the establishment of the synod system following the Second Vatican Council.”

Except, apparently, in the US:

“While Baldisseri asks in his letter for wide consultation on the questions, an accompanying letter sent with the U.S. version of the Vatican document does not request the American bishops undertake wide consultation in their dioceses.

That accompanying letter, dated Oct. 30, is sent from Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, the general secretary of the U.S. bishops’ conference, and only asks the U.S. bishops to provide their own observations.”

How interesting; the nation that is so proud of its democratic traditions has the one hierarchy which silences the voice of the laity.

The notion of consulting the whole Church, of listening to those outside the clerical state, is certain to arouse impassioned debate, whether or not the American riff-raff are included in the ensuing conversation. I am sure that many fears will surface, in this latest manifestation of Francis’ stated goal to make a mess of things. Personally, I am serenely confident that even if American voices are heard – and we sometimes forget that we are a small minority in a big Church- that we are not going to wake up the morning after as Episcopalians.

What is not debatable, particularly in light of the upcoming canonization of John XIII, is that Vatican II is here to stay; there will be no turning back on anything essential that the Council taught.

And it did not teach liturgical chaos or any of the other various cultural crackups that followed. Pope John famously said that he was opening the window of the Church, but the  wind that blew in was in fact a tsunami. The ensuing uproar was perhaps inevitable, at least in retrospect.

Things have settled down, finally, but the battle over the Council is over: Vatican II is Catholic tradition at this point.

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