The Other I

September 18, 2011

Revolution Revisited

I doubt that Rome is tempted to self-doubt by this, but it is quite surprising to me to realize how many of the issues within Roman Catholicism these days are the very issues over which the Protestant Revolution was fought.

For example:  

  • the ordination of women
  • corruption and sexual abuse
  • the primacy of individual conscience
  • the tolerance of doctrinal diversity and the identification of faith with faithfulness rather than dogma
  • the role of the priest within the community
  • celibacy of the priesthood
  • papal infallibility
  • the belief that the minister should be chosen by the community to whom he or she belongs rather than appointed by the bishop
  • whether the primary commitment of the serving priest should be first to the community or to Rome
  • whether the celebration of the Eucharist was meant by Jesus at the Last Supper to be celebrated in his memory, or whether Jesus meant to bestow the power to transform the bread and wine literally into his real substantial body and blood.

There are other issues today which were not dealt with by the Protestants but which are still important.  The seemingly eternal discussion about the unknowable nature of God, the reality of the Trinity, of original sin, and of the existence of a supernatural world.

These issues are all interesting, but the  most critically important seems to me to be the difference between faithfulness and dogma.

I cannot be convinced that whether we believe in the virgin birth or papal infallibility or original sin is actually more important to true holiness or fulfillment than how we live and whether we love our fellow creatures.

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