An interesting "Quote of the Week" in the Sindo today, given that it comes from a final interview with a Cardinal Martini before his death on Friday week last. I believe it merits discussion.
"Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous," Martini said in the interview published in Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
"The church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the Pope and the bishops."
From the outset, this is not a thread for rabid anti religion types, but for those who actually care about the force for more effective good Churches should actually be, and more importantly to discuss the cultural changes the Catholic Church needs to face up to if it is to have a future.
Like most Irish people I went to a school which prepared me for both Confirmation and Communion; I only remember kind priests from those days thankfully, so that part of my childhood was blessed and not blighted by the visible part of the institutional church. However as life has progressed through its various stages of education, work, life, love, running a business, 'giving something back' etc, I have found myself beginning to wonder about the hierarchial nature of church as an institution, and more importantly how it does its business, given that I always understood it believed itself to be guided by the Holy Spirit. I still sometimes attend on Sunday, but to be honest I think it generally lacks a sense of mission with aspects of its liturgies, and the musings of many of its preachers leaving me sometimes frustrated, wishing that I should have stayed at home.
So when the Bosses in the Head Office sent out a notification that henceforth all the flock bleat in unison chanting words they have never heard of before, I reached a point where I said to myself, "this just doesn't feel right". I reasoned that the drive to latinise prayer by dictat was more about the Vatican wielding a power which people don't tune into, than it was about the individual being facilitated to journey closer to God.
I began to wonder about the possible existence of a culture at the top which was more interested in itself as an institution of power, marshalling the meek among its remaining faithful rather than focusing on enabling them continue to acquire the resources to deepen their faith in a simple manner which made sense to them in their daily lives, and to take this out into the world with them. But what truly stopped me in my tracks, was that to a man, all the priests complied with the dictat, even though they seemed clearly uncomfortable about it.
So when one of the Cardinals drops a bombshell like this, it has to make one wonder about the culture within an institution. I sense changes in both our religious and political cultures!
Over to ye!
Catholic church '200 years out of date', says archbishop | World news | guardian.co.uk