My 10 Year Old Thoughts on the Church

FullSizeRenderI am reading an old journal this morning. It is both amusing and disheartening. We, all of us, are creatures of growth, I hope.

Here is a paragraph I wrote about the church–the whole Christian church, I think. The date is early 2005.

Do not presume I agree with all of this now. Indeed, as I type it, with my longer history in a Catholic parish and a far more in-depth knowledge of at least the evangelical, Protestant church, I readily spot some conclusions that time and experience have proven wrong.

My question is this: what is your opinion of this journal entry? What did I get right, and what is clearly not right?

I have to wonder if the plan for greater ministry, as so successfully advanced in many Protestant churches, will ever fully succeed, in the same form, within a Catholic parish.

The hierarchy is different. The people, the members of a Protestant church, depending on the church, of course (thinking of the traditional terms “low” to “high”), are empowered as leaders and have real control over their church’s formal leadership–literally voting on whether a pastor stays or goes. That won’t, and can’t, and shouldn’t, happen in the Catholic parish. Therein lies the rub. Folks get ideas–good ones, bad ones, divergent ones. They want to implement them. A priest (hopefully, maybe) says “no.”

That person, perhaps thinking subconsciously, “my will be done,” rather than “Thy will be done,” causes dissension, gossip, infighting. Perhaps they leave the parish (which, of course, is the preferable alternative). They must do so because they have no control over the final decision.

For all the faults of the Catholic hierarchy (Lord knows there are many and well publicized), I think it preferable to have such a theocratic hierarchy, to a church at the will and whimsy of a very large group of lay persons. A church run by Kathleen Leslies? That would be a church with very few members indeed.

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