Central to our Easter Faith is the understanding that resurrection is not resuscitation.
Resurrection is a progression into a fuller and richer life experience.
Resuscitation is bringing a corpse back to its earlier form of life and it is not a movement into eternal bliss.
The resurrection / resuscitation distinction is an important one. It lies at the very center of contemporary Roman Catholic movements and events.
Ideally church reform should be resurrection-focused: encouraging individuals, groups and institution to progress into an ever richer faith life…….
Unfortunately….what we see far too often today is an institution that pushes people backwards.
Contemporay Roman Catholic leadership is more focused on resuscitation: trying to pump life into the dead corpse of a medieval Catholicism.
In Rome this is called “the reform of the reform…”
Two recent events, by way of example……
A day after Bishop William Morris of the Australian Diocese of Toowoomba said he would retire early following an apostolic visitation, Pope Benedict XVI removed him from office. The May 1st retirement announcement and May 2nd removal followed an apostolic visitation led by the American Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput. In a 2006 pastoral letter, Bishop Morris had expressed support for women’s ordination. Following his removal, Bishop Morris blasted the Vatican for conducting an “Inquisition.”
“I believe there is creeping centralism, a creeping authoritarianism and fallibility in the way the church operates and discusses issues,” he said. “It is not just Pope Benedict: it is the whole Curia, with Benedict as the leader.” “It was like the Inquisition,” Bishop Morris added. “He [Pope Benedict] was immovable. There was no dialogue…..It has been my experience and the experience of others that Rome controls bishops by fear, and if you ask questions or speak openly on subjects that Rome declares closed, . . . you are censored very quickly, told your leadership is defective . . . and are threatened with dismissal,” Bishop Morris told the priests of his diocese.
The same day Bishop Morris was removed, Hans Kung addressed an audience in Munich. The Catholic Church is seriously, possibly terminally ill, he said and only an honest diagnosis and radical therapy will cure it. Kung argues that the malady of the church goes beyond recent sexual abuse scandals. According to him, the church’s resistance to reform, its secrecy, lack of transparency and misogyny are at the heart of the problem.
He said that the Catholic church in the United States has lost one-third of its membership. “The American Catholic church never asked why,” he said. “Any other institution that has lost a third of its members would want to know why.” He also said that eighty percent of German bishops would welcome reforms.
Pope Benedict has distanced himself from Vatican II and “failed in the face of the worldwide sexual abuse by clergy,” Kung said. Benedict is “in essence a person for medieval liturgy, theology and a medieval church constitution.”