Monday, August 13, 2012

Leadership and the Call for Reform

I just came across this young man's You Tube videos, and I am quite impressed with his knowledge of the subject and the simplicity with which he explains it. His name is Boomer Thomas, and in this video he addresses the situation facing many women religious leaders in the U.S. today.

He has a number of videos on You Tube, and I encourage you to explore more of his presentations.

In contrast to this young man who is, no doubt, self-taught and still evolving in his knowledge of the Church, we can read an article on the same subject from a man who has been immersed for many decades in Catholicism. He even helped found a Catholic College here in Virginia (Christendom College). I have the utmost respect for those like Dr. Jeff Miru who can articulate their views as succinctly and authoritatively as does he. This article is well worth the time to read it.
Lest anyone think I am against women religious, I can assure you that nothing is farther from the truth. I know and have the highest regard for thousands of women religious. They live a life to which I once aspired.

At two different times in my life I was in the early stages of formation with two religious institutes -- some 13-14 years apart, the last time ending 10 years ago. But both times as I discerned whether I was called to religious life, the two things that bothered me most and which ultimately deterred me from continuing in formation were a pervasive underlying disregard for the authority of the hierarchy of the Church and the "fluffiness" (for lack of a better word) that was infused into almost every liturgy and gathering. Things like liturgical dance and balloons and symbols and candles and incense and drapery and movement and strange instruments from far-off mountainous regions of the world playing haunting music, and chanting or humming in unison....

These all became distractions for me during Mass. I finally came to this realization: Give me the Readings and the Eucharist, with minimal singing, and I am content. As you can tell, I am not into all the New Agey stuff, as I prefer to stick to the liturgical norms. Having women read the Gospel and give the homily is something I cannot endure since I know that it is forbidden. It goes on all the time, though. I used to hear what I can only call "man-bashing" from a few women religious, and that saddened me since my closest friends always were men.

My hope in this situation is that it does not become a stand-off between the LCWR and the Vatican. Like Dr. Miru, I do not think dialogue is the answer if the LCWR is insistent that there be compromise in the doctrine of the Church to accommodate their views. I will continue to pray for both sides as they strive to come to common ground during this time of reformation. We all know what happened in the reformation with a capital R. For better or for worse, the Church got smaller. Pope Benedict himself wrote in 1970 (as Joseph Ratzinger) that it might come to that.
From the crisis of today, the Church of tomorrow will emerge -- a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so will she lose many of her social privileges. [...] As a small society, she will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….

The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon the political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. [...] The process will be long and wearisome [....] But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. [...]
And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already with Gobel, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.

In summary, "Bigger isn't always better."

Amen to that.

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