|St Francis, model|
for inernal reform
of the Church
That the Church today stands in need of a serious Reformation—in head and members—is very clear. The reforms of Vatican II have been a disaster—not because they weren’t sound and good ideas, holy ideas, but because they have not been properly implemented. The Council was no sooner over and the last busload of bishops had hardly left for the airport, when curial officials began dismantling the Council, giving it its “authentic interpretation” which steadily and surely has reconsolidated all power in the Roman Curia leaving the Roman bureaucracy unmanageable to the Pope and unaccountable to anyone. The result is the chaos and scandal we now endure with the Holy See sheltering prelates from prosecution for protecting abusive priests, with money laundering being the business of the Vatican Bank, with cronyism being the chief criterion for the nomination of bishops, and with vicious infighting involving Cardinals and butlers in stabling one another in the back.
The monarchial and bureaucratic structure by which the Church is administered cannot be relied upon for honest and transparent leadership needed in a community that professes its mission is to spread the Gospel. There is a need to change the basic constitution of the Church, not to do away with the papacy or the episcopal structure which we Catholics believe was instituted by Christ (though that needs some historical nuancing), but to integrate leadership into the Church rather than place it above the Church. By this I do not mean introducing democracy into the Church, but I do mean creating structures of accountability. If the leadership of the Church does not realize that the faithful do already in fact hold them accountable and create structures of administration that “give some teeth” to that accountability, the faithful will continue to drift away from the leadership in ever greater numbers. Right now the choice—Luther or Innocent—can still be made, but if the Church leadership does not opt for an Innocentian Reform from within, then they will find themselves the victims of a Luther style Reform that will lead the faithful away from the leadership.