John Chuchman's reflection today is principally focused to goings on in the United States but could as easily be applied in any country in the developed world today. Have some hierarchical fringe in the Church declared some sort of war on the great majority of ordinary pew-sitters in the church, or who once sat in the church? Are the old crusader's banners coming out again?
War Declared by the Hierarchical Fringe
The Catholic Hierarchy is at war with the majority of us in the pews,
who at times do and do not buy the promulgated line.
The Catholic Hierarchy is a powerful adversary.
It controls the money,
the real estate,
and the microphone
when it comes to the "Catholic" position on things.
It is not a democracy.
The 400+ Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals in the United States
and their positions are set by a foreign principality, the Vatican.
The local bishop has no popular referendum
to indicate his support.
No one local can vote him in or out of his office.
In many temporal ways he rules.
Still, oddly, assorted public officials,
including non-Catholics who welcome his apparent 'power' on their issues,
will give him and his brother Bishops great and undeserved deference.
But we who sit in the pews do not get the attention.
It is the other Catholic Church, the Hierarchy,
that gets the attention.
I happen to be a lifelong Catholic
and have seriously considered bolting.
It's not fear or lethargy or anything like that keeps me coming.
It has been a part of my weekly routine.
I like the Church's traditional (and now flagging) attention to social justice.
Many suggest that I'm foolish to hang on.
I ask that question of myself daily.
You don't make change by disappearing from the battlefield.
And this is a battlefield.
Roughly half of Catholics might be to the right of center,
the other half to the left,
in all variations of those misused terms.
So, if one fourth of US population is Catholic,
one-eighth of the U.S.
might seem to generally subscribe to one or another of the Bishops positions.
Of that 12% or so, a very small fraction are the spear-carriers for the Church.
They are the ones who purport to speak for the faith,
usually filmed inside a Church.
They are the images on the evening news.
As for me, all I can do is
set my own beliefs in front of the one, two, fifteen or twenty
who might be inclined to listen and think about the implications of all of this.
My thoughts have not been hidden from view:
See my Blogs and my Letters to the Editors.
Most Catholics have abandoned hierarchical teaching
on birth control;
Most support the marriage of people of the same gender;
Most want Married Priests;
Most want Women Ordained;
Most are appalled at the abuse cover-ups by Bishops.
My views are moderate, mainstream Catholic.
It is the Bishops who are the extremists!
There is a great deal at stake.
The institution that is my Catholic Church
claims it is being discriminated against,
I disagree in the strongest possible way with this takeover.
A hierarchical fringe is seeking to take control under the guise of freedom of religion:
But remember, those Bishops are not our local people,
and there are only 400 or so of these foreign appointees.
This reflection is also published on John Chuchman's blog.
The background used to support John Chuchman's reflection has been sourced from stock.xchng one of the sources for free images on the net provided by people who voluntarily upload their work for others to share. Daniel Cubillas who is located in Spain provided today's image. A gallery of Daniel's freely available images can be found at: www.sxc.hu/gallery/dcubillas. The background image used in the headline, detail from Eugène Delacroix's, The Taking of Constantinople by the Crusaders (April 12, 1204), has been sourced from www.agiasofia.com and the crusaders' banners from 4.bp.blogspot.com
John Chuchman is a bereavement counsellor. He is a graduate of John Carroll University and former Ford Motor Company executive (1959-1992). He has been a Hospice volunteer since 1990. John has received Pastoral Bereavement Counselor certification and a Certificate in Spirituality (Kino Institute of Phoenix, Arizona.) In 2000, he was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministries from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. His website provides information about his regular retreats and information about his books. he also writes a "Poetman" blog which you can find on the website or via this link: [Visit John's blog] | [Visit John's website]
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