Tuesday, July 03, 2012

An inconvenient juxtaposition: a "great springtime for Christianity" ... and scandal

"The worldwide agony: news of a single week in June-July" (Rorate Caeli, July 4, 2012).

"As the third millennium of the redemption draws near, God is preparing a great springtime for Christianity, and we can already see its first signs." (John Paul II, Redemptoris missio, December 7, 1990) ...

... and a worldwide week of scandalous Church news ... Read more >>


Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Nouvelles like JP2 have been anticipating the "great springtime," the renaissance, the great renewal, for most of my life. Instead I have witnessed the degeneration of Catholic culture, the "diplomaticization," if you will, of dogma, the devaluation of sin, and the subsumption of religious faith into communitarian insipidity.

The attempts our nouvelle leaders to extract water from the aggiornamento stone were once pitiful exhibitions of deluded egoism. As time passes and post-V2 generations assume control, the expressions become less oracular and grandiose, and more pro forma expressions of the corporate mission statement.

William Blake believed that if a fool were to persist in his folly he would become wise. Fools tend to treasure Blake's mindset, of course, for Blake was himself a fool and a fanatic. But how much wisdom has been gained for the Church by our Blakean leaders ?

Anonymous said...

To call them "Blakean" is probably too complimentary. Hannah Arendt's words come to mind about the "banality of evil."

JohnG. said...

Well I find this juxtaposition rather unfair toward JPII.
He stood firm ... in a age where the Church was incredibely attacked by every one, even within the Church (left and right included).
But he had his eyes pointed on what would be signs of hope.
That there had been horrible sandals, in this time isn't surprising. There has always been any, and there will always be...
So I can't understand why putting together the list of sca,dals and JPII's sentence about the "springtime".
Yes, rather unfair...

Pertinacious Papist said...

I agree that as an isolated and historical juxtaposition, it might well be considered unfair.

Two thoughts:

First, as you point out, there have probably have always been scandals in Church history. Nothing new here. By the same token, there have always been movements of renewal here and there. It's certainly important to remember that background. Having said that, there are also massive shifts of renewal as well as unfaithfulness and scandal that cover entire periods of history -- such as the Arian controversy, in which some two-thirds of the bishops of the Church apostatized and went over to the side of Arius, or the period of the Tridentine reforms and resistance to the Protestant revolt. In light of that, I don't think we can simply regard the last 50 years as "ordinary time" in Catholic Church history. We are in the midst of a major crisis, and anyone who denies this or can't see it has his head stuck up where the sun don't shine.

Second, the value of such a juxtaposition as this, I'm convinced, is that it's particularly jarring to those who have drunk deeply at the well of the happy-clappy talk that is not reserved for the first couple of decades following Vatican II, but persists in many places today, much as they say the Emperor Nero "fiddled while Rome burned."

Certainly we work for renewal and recognize those places where the Holy Spirit has been active in changed lives and communities. At the same time, we cannot imagine that things are "okay" and will go on indefinitely as they have in the Church, any more than we should imagine that we can go on indefinitely printing money, devaluing the currency, and trying to spend our way out of economic recession as as nation.

Kind regards.