Tuesday, December 15, 2009

QUOTE OF THE DAY FROM JOHN J. MCNEILL

I have written extensively on the Teology of Fallibility. We need fallible leaders in order to mature spiritually and learn to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us from within our experiences. Through the failures of church hierarchiacal authorities, the Church is being transformed into the Church of the Holy Spirit. This is God’s doing and no human political force can stop it.

 This is a wonderful, wise comment (posted in response to an article by Terry Weldon at Queering the church) on our present spiritual state in the Catholic Church. Immediately after the death of Pope John Paul I some thirty years ago, I felt this good man was taken from us because it was not the intention of the Holy Spirit for us to have a peaceful and balanced renewal of the institution from the top, but rather,  through trial and suffering, to wean us away from our childlike dependency upon the institution and force us to 'grow up,' and in the words of John McNeill above, "learn to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us from within out experiences." Through one disastrous, fallible decision after another from church leaders, we have been shown the limitations of authority and led out into the desert wilderness to encounter the Pillar of Fire in the depths of our own spiritual experience. The Church is born through suffering.

4 comments:

William D. Lindsey said...

Wonderful, insightful quote and comments about it by you, Jayden.

I've been thinking along similar lines lately. You say, "Immediately after the death of Pope John Paul I some thirty years ago, I felt this good man was taken from us because it was not the intention of the Holy Spirit for us to have a peaceful and balanced renewal of the institution from the top, but rather, through trial and suffering, to wean us away from our childlike dependency upon the institution and force us to 'grow up' . . ."

Lately, I've been thinking what decision the cardinals at the last conclave to elect a pope could have made to speed reform in the church along as quickly as possible. And what keeps occurring to me is this: elect a pope who is the embodiment of resistance to Vatican II, one without the charisma and personal charm of JPII, one known for rigidity and authoritarianism, one with a past for which apologies will constantly have to be made.

Elect a pope committed to intransigence right when the church needs to be anything but intransigent, and you have a formula for quick, dramatic change. You have that formula because you've pitted the ruling elite of the church against everyone else in the most dramatic way possible, so it becomes impossible any longer to disguise the power games of the center.

The blindness of the papal electors in the last papal election may turn out to have been providential, some centuries down the road. They may well have accelerated a necessary process of tumbling down, for the Spirit to rebuild on sounder foundations.

colkoch said...

Nice post Jayden and nice comment Bill. Butterfly made a comment about how it's beginning to seem that the only thing we all share is victimhood.

It seems all institutions and systems are being exposed for living off of making everyone victimized or exploited and convincing us all in it's in our best interests to let them do so.

I think some of us are awakening to the fact that we no longer feel it's necessary to be victims or act as if we are victims. It's called growing up and it's a good thing to do in the end.

Jayden Cameron said...

Right on with Benedict, Bill (some alliteration there)! Even more 'providential' in some ways than the mysterious death of JPI. Speaking of which, JPII had such a sense of 'divine destiny' in regard to his vocation to the Papacy. In hindsight, he was absolutely right for all the wrong reasons. The Spirit was simply using his own blind spots as the means of purification and radicalization of the Church. Even more so with the shy, retiring scholar Ratzinger. Instruments of the Holy Spirit.

Jayden Cameron said...

An end to victim hood as the means and method of growing up. Could serve as an epitaph for the times. The religious institutions will continue on in some form, but their boundaries will have to be far more fluid than presently constructed. Spiritual seekers will have increasingly greater confidence in their own powers of discernment, less and less dependence upon external authority figures -without eliminating the need for testing the spirits by subjecting one's own experiences to reflective commentary from the community (I got lost somewhere in the middle of that long sentence!).