Our Faith is our lifeline in this crazy world. When we lift our belief level with bridge cranes of hopes and dreams, we feel loved by God and He knows best, then it’s easier to live with the challenges that life doles out on a regular basis.
Towing the line within a strict Catholic doctrine and staying progressive can sometimes be a test of our Faith. While we wait for the Church to open up to more progressive thinking we must stay true to Holy Dogma. As a devoted practitioner one would not want to risk loosing good standing as a Catholic. The sacraments would be denied us.
Holy Communion would be forbidden and burial in a Catholic cemetery not allowed. Two tenets held near and dear to most practicing Catholics. Nonetheless, there have been many. Perhaps the most recognizable public person of recent times to have been excommunicated for disobeying the laws of the Church was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
So in the ever changing mindset most of us are surrounded with, we are often faced with questions of Faith. It’s natural to believe that the country we live in shapes the new thought of others from around the world. Our thinking as North Americans especially leads us to believe we sway the Ecclesiastical Counsel. With over 1 billion Catholics and 222 Cardinals representing the faithful, decisions are all considered and finalized in Rome. To his credit Pope Francis seems to be hearing the world voice.
With years of stagnation shackled by scandal the loss of active support had become evident. The Church of Rome was getting a reputation as being in a state of confusion, old and out of touch. Since being elected to the office of Bishop of Rome, Servant of the Servants of God, Francis has started to breath fresh life into the organization by going out “to the peripheries”. He said at the time he entered office that the present state of affairs “sick”. He suggested risking all by listening more to the “dysfunctional” papal. Opening up to the shunned and marginalized Roman Curia.
This spectrum considered to often be at the root of the Catholic Crisis. The Roman Curia is a rather large body made up of the Secretariat of State, nine congregations, twelve councils, three tribunals and several commissions, academies, institutes and varied offices. In a word its reach is expansive. It was put together over time and from many Papal positions. With internal division and political agendas, cooperation has been difficult to acquire. Divine work was being circumvented by human ego.
While progress is being made, there is a seemingly endless list of areas still in dire need of attention. What needs to be addressed to keep the Church solid and yet current and relatable to it’s congregants is depthless.
To quote Thomas Reese’s February article from the National Catholic Reporter – “Does the church need more stability or change, unity or pluralism, clearer teaching or better witness? Should it be challenging or accommodating, devotional or prophetic?”
Francis has made a difference in two years, but it’s going to take many many years of reform to get a balance – that’s hoping that balance can be struck within such a diverse and eclectic consortium. Leadership is his greatest challenge, but he has focused intent and according to all that is Holy- God on his side.
Please tell us here at Progressive Catholic Voice what your thoughts are by leaving a comment below. Give us your opinion on the progress Francis has made so far.