Friday, February 26, 2010

NEW BEGINNINGS

When I first set up this blog, I promised myself (and any possible readers) that I wouldn't engage in any of the usual narcissistic tittle tattle about my own personal life, unless such details reflected upon larger, more universal issues (Does that sound as pretentious as I think it does?). Be that as it may, I'm happy to announce that my apartment search has been concluded with a very beautiful flat in the trendy, artsy neighborhood of Paleckeho Namesti, some two blocks south of where I'm presently living in Prague. The photos below don't begin to do justice to the beauty of the place, but the price was also just right: 600 Euros a month. Someone has designed this apartment with much love and in fact it has been featured in a Czech magazine devoted to interior design. Why so cheap, then, since the furnishings are very expensive? Don't have the answer to that, except that the actual owners, a Czech couple, now live in the US.



The search having been concluded, I'm now more free to devote any extra time to writing and reflecting. I hope  soon to conclude an article for Open Tabernacle, which I've long been postponing. But I've been carefully following the postings on other progressive Catholic blogs, gay or otherwise, and many of the stories might seem dispiriting or discouraging, especially when reporting the deeds of daring do of the Vatican notaries (just finished a superb, hair-raising article on the Catholic Culture of Death at Enlightened Catholicism.) However, I believe - for the sake of our own spiritual wholeness and sanity - we need to take the long view and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to renew our community in her own mysterious way. We each have our own parts to play and the gentlemen in the Vatican and their collaborators world wide are playing their parts with ferocious determination and will do so to the very bitter end. These are, however, the desperate efforts of a dying dinosaur. The old system of Catholic Christendom is coming to an end, and none of us can predict what surprising events the Spirit has prepared for us in the future, nor what new forms the Catholic community will embrace. This is a 'fact' we need to accept in peace and joy, while not denying the very real pain the present "leadership" is capable of causing (especially to the abuse victims in Ireland and world wide). Take the short view and one will be filled with despair. Take the long view, and one will understand the appalling contradictions of Vatican behavior as part of a profound dialectical movement of the Spirit, leading us to a freer, more just and egalitarian form of Catholic community. Sister Joan Chittister of NCR, with her usual balance,  has recently given a succinct summary of the church of the future, mentioning a few obvious, salient facts.  In the 21st century, the church will not be able to avoid the issue of women and ordination and the future church will be one of the laity, especially lay women What she leaves implicit, and what I wish to spell out forcefully here, is that once this church of the laity arrives in full force (because of the shortage of ordained priests and women religious) the majority of our ministers will be freed from the economic control of the Vatican. And with economic freedom comes a whole lotta other freedoms besides, at the top of the list of which is the freedom, as a minister of the church,  to speak one's mind without fear of recrimination. Beyond economic freedom, there lies another more radical freedom which must be left up to the professional theologians to explicate - and that is the freedom of the sacraments, in particular the Eucharist,  from ecclesiastical control. Edward Schillebeeckx and Hans Kung have already eloquently reflected on this issue (more than forty years ago), but this freedom is also coming, and with it an end to any pretensions of totalitarian control from a centralized Vatican city state. Economics and sacra-mentality - the key to freedom from totalitarianism. Authority will still have its sacred role as a source of unity and inspirations but the present dysfunctional,  pathological system is already doomed,  and no human force can preserve it. Do not be fooled by its violent death throws. The Spirit blows where She wills, and like Joshua at the Battle of Jericho, She will blow and blow until them walls come tumbling down.

2 comments:

Terence Weldon said...

Congratulations on the stunning looking new apartment - I pray that it goes as well as you are now expecting.

Your observations on the church are spot on: the short -term view is depressing,but the present Vatican craziness is pretty much out of desperation, anxiously trying to shore up each fragile card of teaching, control and (claimed) authority lest the loss of a single one will cause the whole fragile heap to come tumbling down.

Also spot on with the implications of economic freedom. I have been intrigued to note, over the past year, that the tiny number of gay priests who have been willing to come out and so publicly have been those not directly employed by the church, but have been either retired or in some other kind of ministry. Some (very few) of these have even announced their weddings - to men. You don't hear that from parish priests.

Jayden Cameron said...

Thanks, Terry, it's a relief that the search is over. Will have more to say on both the need and the justification for optimism (however hard to spot) at a later date.