Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Fallibility of the Hierarchy

At the last supper Jesus told his disciples. "If I do not die, the Spirit cannot come to you! But if I die I will send the Holy Spirit, who will dwell in your hearts and lead you into all truth." Jesus was revealing a basic truth about spiritual maturity. Our external authorities must fail us before we can find the presence of God's spirit within us and within our experiences. If our parents had been infallible we could never have matured, take distance from their authority and take personal responsibility for our choices and actions. It is precisly where parental authority failed us that we found the oppotunity to mature.

Jesus's fallibility through death opened the possibility of our becoming spiritual mature humans hearing the voice of the spirit from within our self-consciousness and no longer dependent on external authority.
This message of Jesus was repeated in the teaching of Vatican II on freedom of conscience:
"Humans have in their hearts a law written by God. To obey it is the very dignity of the human; according to it we will be judged. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of the human. There we are alone with God, whose voice echoes in our depths."

The Holy Spirit is trying to lead the Catholic church into a mature "freedom of conscience." In order to do so the Spirit had to grant us the gift of obviously fallible leaders. This is the context which gives meaning to the terrible failre of leadership from the hierarchy. This failure began when the papacy fumbled the issue of birth control. We are aware that the vast majority of married Catholics do not accept the hierarchy's teaching condemning birth control. Gays and lesbian Catholics are keenly aware that they can not follow the teaching of the Church on homosexuality without destroyong themselves psychically and spiritually.
The refusal of leaders in the Church to accept married men and women into the priesthood has been a major factor in the worldwide pedophile crisis.
Pope John Paul II paid special honor to Fr Marcial Degollado, a known pedophile and deposed Pedro Arrupe, the General of the Jesuits, a man with the reputation of being a saint, because he supported welcoming gay and lesbian Catholics to full membership in the Church, favored the ordination of married men and women and supported liberation theology.

The priesthood, limited to heterosexual chaste men is rapidly disappearing in the developed world and will soon do so in the rest of the world. Through all these actions the Holy Spirit is trying to transform the Church into a democratic institution where authority comes from the bottom up. Leaders of the Church are being asked to carefully discern what the Spirit is up to, to listen carefully to what the Spirit is saying through the "People of God".

It is time now to reconvene the Vatican council and complete the reformation of the Church which the Spirit began in Vatican II. Let us all pray that the Church will be open to this invitation of the Holy Spirit.


  1. Love this! But I think it is too soon for that Vatican Council. There would be too many dinosaurs in attendance. We've to see some white smoke over the Sistine first. The Holy Spirit seems to be in no hurry.

  2. Honestly, after 2,000 years of lies, fraud, abuse of humanity and crimes beyond the scope of any humanity the Vatican, Council or no is exposed as the institution of hate it clearly demonstrates.
    Poppa Ratzinger may well be a blessing for the reality based community of mankind.
    Sell the Vatican, feed the world.