Friday 23 November 2018

Synod 2020. Liverpool. Number 3

Reflecting after the open meeting for the Archdiocese Synod, one of the views that has been frequently shared is that it reminds people of something else... but not something good.

A retired policeman said it reminded him of conferences and initiatives he had attended in the force.

A civil servant said it reminded him of days and restructurings he had experienced at work.

Both of these in the context of cutbacks with the ultimate aim of getting fewer people to do more work.

As I've already mentioned, it does all remind me of the same approaches we have tried before and which have failed to bare much in the way of fruit.

While it might be good to be as professional as we can in going about the practical business of managing the Church, simply imitating the structures and processes of the secular world around us may not necessarily be the best way to develop the Faith community.

The world around us really has lost all grounding in the Christian ethic. Even where the common good persists, it becomes ever paler, like a photocopier running out of ink. It has become detached from its roots in Christian Faith; at best a vague Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. 

Those who proclaim human rights and caring for the environment would and indeed science and learning itself, would, for the most part, have no knowledge of those ideals embedded in our Christian Tradition (which sadly extends to many within the Church too, having failed to teach our Tradition). The same changes that have engulfed the world around us have also engulfed the Church. We have placed unwarranted confidence in the health of our Christian institutions - Catholic schools in this country would be the prime example. Like the world outside, no more so than at this time of year, the Church no longer forms souls but rather, caters to selves.
Consumerist instead of formative.

I would hope to hear less about reforming programmes coming out of the Synod and more about how to live holy lives - as individuals and as Faith community. The challenge of the Faith in contrast to the world around us. Yes we have to engage with the world in which we live; yes we are to go out and meet it but... NO we are not to follow on its heels. The process is meant to be the other way around but too often we have capitulated and been converted to its glossy glamorous enticements. 

The world which we seem so often to seek to imitate and give in to has as its highest good the individual's will - in fulfilling themselves, in pursuing their every desire (good or bad) and now in even choosing to be a man or a woman.

The virtuous Christian society is by contrast one that shares belief in objective moral goods and the practices necessary for those human beings to embody those goods in community. But we live in a society where no-one agrees what constitutes virtuous belief and conduct and even doubts that virtue exists. It has become a collection of strangers each pursuing their own interests under minimal constraints.

In times of struggle for the Church throughout history, saints have called us back to the tenets of the Faith and been living examples of those tenets themselves. We must not be afraid to call our people back to a radical living of the Faith in communities that do indeed look very different from the neighbours among whom we live.

If we can't get back to that... we're doomed!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A photocopier running out of ink what a true and brilliant simile.