Monday, May 20, 2002

Before this most recent series of scandals, I had been ruminating on the recent history of the Church. I have a child's memory of the pre-Vatican Church, an adolescent's memory of the Vatican moment and an adult's understanding of the aftermath. I am simply Catholic. I believe that the Council was a movement of the Holy Spirit. Much was lost and much was gained.

I have often wondered however how the Church I knew became the Church I know. I have wondered how the America I knew became the America I know. To me, it seems that the key to this mystery is human sexuality. A re-orientation of our understanding has transformed the world.

If one could imagine a conspiracy to destroy us, one could only applaud the genius of the conspirators. It seems that no other power on earth could change us so utterly. I think that it's Michael Jones, (In Culture Wars), who outlines the effect this unleashing of sexuality had on the religious orders back in the '60s. As I said, the devil has shown his genius.

Still, a huge group of the faithful have remained faithful. A portion of the faithless (such as myself) have returned to the Faith. What power now can turn us from our calling?

Yet again, the devil shows his genius.

The emotion of humiliation is immediate and terribly intense. If, however, we are guarded and thoughtful, the impact of humiliation may be far less enduring.

Still, this initial humiliation changes our psychological location in the discussion. They are pedophiles. We are embarrassed. They are priests. We are the laity. They are the hierarchy. We are the people of God. We are the 'real' Church.

We, the laity, the people of God, must bring them, the runaway clerics, the prideful hierarchy, into obedience to the will of God (no doubt as reflected in the 'democratic' will of the people). We will lead. If they are astute, they will follow. If they do not follow, they will be overthrown or perhaps worse, they will be reduced to irrelevance.

Personally, I will not be separated from my priests, I will not be separated from my bishops. I will not lead them and I will not call them to account. I am Catholic. They are not accountable to me. They are accountable for me. They are not answerable to me. They are answerable for me.

I may be the muscle of the Mystical Body but they are the skeleton. They provide the form for the exercise of my function.


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