Thankfully, THE church is not only larger than Roman Catholicism but larger than Christianity, even.

The sickness described applies to its institutional aspects, which, because of our radical finitude, while not otherwise theologically essential, have been practically indispensable in this temporal realm (I’m struggling to avoid using the cliche’ “necessary evil”). The form of church polity is an accidental, not an essential, and this hierarchy, in my view, has not only outlived its usefulness but is more of an obfuscation of the sense of the faithful than an amplification, which is to say that it has been, in a word, unfaithful. The voice of the faithful will emerge from the rocks and stones, if necessary.

Pastorally, some form of institution will likely remain necessary but it will less likely be hierarchical and will more likely be more open-sourced and peer-topeer (P2P). And this should suffice to keep alive the voice of self-critical protest in the church’s vital prophetic tradition. For all practical purposes, talking substance over form, a de facto CBNR (catholic but not Roman) cohort has emerged vis a vis Emergent Christianity, re-sourcing our mystical core as John XXIII’s prayer for aggiornamento has been answered by the Spirit, albeit not in the way many would’ve expected! Sadly and ironically, Rome is harvesting the seeds of self-destruction that it has planted, itself, while trying to weed out fruitbearing crops, which will be fine in the long-run as they grow elsewhere!

IN RESPONSE TO:

“To be restored our sickness must grow worse” Posted on June 6, 2012 by Richard Rohr, OFM

I am presently teaching European jail chaplains in Romania, the poorest country in Europe. Seeking some guidance and consolation amidst the historic and present suffering of these people, I had an afternoon of prayer and took to reading T.S.Eliot’s FOUR QUARTETS. In “East Coker” he says that “our only health is the disease” and that “to be restored our sickness must grow worse” and even “the whole world is our hospital”. It gives me some strange direction amidst this tragic communist experiment, the state of politics in the USA, and the daily Vatican meltdown as it continues to try to regain some control and authority by condemning things in every direction. We are clearly in a very strategic period of history where people are grabbing for power because they do not know how to heal, restore, or bring life. You would think the Pope and bishops should know better, yet they only need to look to this part of the world to see what imposed and authoritarian change accomplishes–which is nothing and worse than nothing. The push back, the 1

alienation, the cynicism lasts for centuries, as I see here in a former Communist state. I am afraid, as T.S.Eliot says “our sickness must grow worse” to see how sick we are, and “our only health is in the disease” itself–to bring the poison to the surface so none can deny it. The Roman Church and the US Congress are both showing a very sad misuse of their power, which is no longer a power for good or for the common good. The Catholic church has become its own worst enemy and does not need atheists or agnostics to undo its mission. Like St. Peter himself, it is denying and destroying its own message. The sadness I see here in Romania is the sadness of power totally misused in the name of “reform”. I am afraid it is a prophecy for the future of the Roman Catholic Church.

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