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Dominic Preziosi August 31, 2013 - 5:54pm
Now on the homepage, Desmond O'Grady on how, and whether, Pope Francis can go about reforming the Curia. Has a decisive step been taken with the appointment of Pietro Parolin as Vatican secretary of state? Read the whole story here.
Oops == I posted this below the O'Grady article, but should have posted here. (Be careful you don't do the same.)
Another humongous problem that the Curia -- and the Popes -- have not dealt with effectively is the problem of the loss of allegiance (if not of the basic faith) of millions upon millions of Catholicas since Vatican II. Dissent is rife, yet the Curia is unwilling and/or unable to even discuss the burning issues. Further, there doesn't seem to be any coherent teaching about when dissent is permitted or even necessary. There is no consistent teaching about the magisterium. The very word "magisterium" is quite ambiguous. And the Vatican doesn't even seem to realize the depths of these problems.
Evangelization is bound to fail if these problems are not addressed. New technological methods of communication could help spread the Word, but new fashioned technology and old fashioned enthusiasm will not compensate for the frustrations of the questioning faithful, especially the questioning young. The Vatican must learn to answer "Why?" with real evidence, not with lip-service to natural law theory or irrelevant texts from the Fathers of the Church..
Ann, I made the same mistake. Here is my comment, copied from the homepage:
"The Curia has never been well loved. But it has enjoyed a reputation as a cohesive body that dealt effectively with complex global problems."
I guess it depends on which problems you consider. It certainly didn't deal effectively with the complex global problem of the sex abuse scandals in the Church.
And in the area of Liturgy it has become a conduit for complaint that takes sides in complex disputes often without really understanding what is going on in the local churches, leading to more problems on the ground. One of the complex global issues happens to be the relationship of periphery to the center, and the Curia sides with the center every time. Is this effective? Well, it depends on what outcomes one desires. The fathers of Vatican II wanted to strengthen the periphery, a development the Curia has always resisted.
Surely the debacle of the new English translations of the Mass is an example of the Curia deciding for the central, curial powers and against the periphery, the local bishops. I wonder how well Pope Francis will handle the liturgy wars. His preference for simple vestments and much less pomp led to some quite grumbling in the Vatican. But if he allows the bishops to decide on their own liturgical language I suspect there might be all-out civil war in Vatican City. In so many ways language determines culture, and the Curia thinks maintaining one universal Catholic culture is its function, not the bishops'.
I'm so surprised, and actually disappointed, that this article seems to have received little or no attention. It's important, maybe the most important thing on the horizon for the future of the Catholic Church, and thus in some sense important for all the churches. Does no one have an opinion, a concern, a perspective on what is happening in this arena?
There is an online petition to Cardinal O'Malley to bring up the problems with how translations are being imposed, Ann. It's not all that well-written, but least that group sees that something could change here. I wonder if there are others who are writing, asking, seeking.
And here at Commonweal the combox is silent. I don't get it. Are readers here uninterested in the Curia's reform? Don't they see that this is directly related to how, say, bishops are chosen, policies formulated and reviewed, directions implemented? We are good at complaining about the results, but apparently we have little or no interest in how these dishes are cooked up in the kitchen!
Pope Francis can be charismatic to the hilt, but if the Curia doesn't change we will still have the same complainers pulling strings behind the scenes and calling the shots. We'll have the same failures of collegiality, and nothing will change in the way the Church is run -- it will continue to function like a renaissance court, with palace intrigue, and who has got the ear of whom, and totally without transparency.
Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s digital editor.
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