As the Pope steps down, he will get no rousing round of applause or fanfare like his predecessor. In his defense the Catholic church started to die before he was given the papacy. Amidst a growing sexual abuse scandal and the poor way in which it has been handled worldwide, the relevance of the Catholic church has all but diminished. In an editorial in the New York Times, Ross Douthat writes:
If this era is now passing, and Catholic ideas are becoming more marginal to our politics, it’s partially because institutional Christianity is weaker over all than a generation ago, and partially because Catholicism’s leaders have done their part, and then some, to hasten that de-Christianization. Any church that presides over a huge cover-up of sex abuse can hardly complain when its worldview is regarded with suspicion.
I read recently that Gov. Cuomo is implementing legislation that will make it easier for women in late-term pregnancies to get an abortion if the life of the mother is threatened. In the same article, I’m guessing on purpose so the reader can make their own judgement, the Archbishop of New York shared his distaste with writing such legislation. *side eye* Your ability to speak on human rights issues is now thwarted by the fact that you continue to cover up sexual abuse among priests. If the Catholic church is not protecting the children who are alive, why should you even speak on those who have not been born??
But I digress…How the Catholic church has arrived at the end of its moment is really through a series of missed opportunities. Over the years Christian leaders have gotten caught up in their own hype. The number one practiced religion in the world! So what if a few people leave; they have simply lost their way…others will come. Incorrect thinking. As we enter another cultural shift, which is kinda reminiscent of the Renaissance, we are seeing regular church membership (active and participating members) drop. The church is missing the opportunity to connect with humanity and shift accordingly.
The church universal has operated under the misconception that IT is the catalyst of change in society when in fact the people have always been the catalyst for change. The people have interacted with the church in a way that forced it to respond. From Martin Luther’s 95 Theses to the Civil Rights movement, all change has occurred through the people not the organized church. The people are speaking loudly, but the church would rather die a slow, painful death. I don’t understand why. Pride? Tradition? Ignorance? Doctrine? As it has been said before, by 2040 the church as we know it now will no longer exist. Scary and compelling for some. In its place…a new form of worship. Let the people choose what that will be.
What changes would the church universal have to make for you to attend? Do you want to return to church?