Grandstand. Is the crisis that the Catholic Church is going through only due to dysfunctions in its organization or delays in the right decisions? The synod launched by Pope Francis, which will culminate in Rome in the fall of 2023, will he take into account the requests that Catholics will bring back to Rome? Which requests will be considered as priorities?
In the current state of things, there is room for doubt. It is especially welcome to ask whether the “reforms adopted” will be enough to revitalize the Christian way. Will they be decisive enough to allow the Christians of the XXIe century to strengthen their faith in God, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, within cultures marked by the physical and human sciences, and by the modernity that is winning over all the peoples of the planet? Here are some leads.
The hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church originated in the second century of the Christian era. In its operation, it practices very little elective democracy. From the pope to the bishops, no official is elected. Priests are trained from an early age in closed seminaries, with mainly traditional philosophy and theology. The Protestant Reformation, inaugurated by Luther in 1517, had destroyed this pyramidal structure.
Backtracking after Vatican II
Today, any honest and informed person recognizes that it was a liberating rupture against the pontifical power and in favor of a direct reading of the Bible by the people. Alas, the Council of Trent (1565), in its counter-reformation, refused to learn the slightest lesson from the Protestant novelty and froze the Catholic Church for centuries. In the XXe century, things changed significantly, in particular with the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
But today we know its limits, as well as the resistance and setbacks that occurred subsequently. It must be admitted that since then many Catholics have left liturgical practice and the life of the Church and continue to do so. And this because of its pre-modern doctrine and formulations.
The enormous disciplinary and doctrinal exodus that this phenomenon represents, and which has affected priests, religious and lay people, still amazes observers, but does not seem to worry or question in depth the institution of the Catholic Church. A first point of doctrine: is Jesus of divine nature, as the Councils of Nicaea (325) and Chalcedon (351) proclaimed and as the Credo affirms? Was he born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit?
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