Tuesday, 10, 14/14
In today’s readings from Luke’s Gospel and from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians we have stories about our no longer needing to eat only Kosher. But let me leave that aside to speak instead of the plan behind the Synod called together in Rome by Pope Francis.
Fifty years ago Pope John XXIII brought twenty-four hundred bishops together to tweak our Catholic practices to bring them in line with what they would be if Jesus were running the Church on earth. Pope Francis is trying to do the same thing with his two synods.
Back then John XXIII began by writing to every diocese and university asking them in what ways they thought we might alter things to bring them in line with Our Lord’s thinking. Pope Francis did the same thing last year, asking every diocese for ideas. (In some place the lay people also were asked to contribute suggestions.)
Pope Francis and Pope John seemed to have the same view as to what has nudged the Church away from just what Christ wants it to be. Both seemed to feel that the Church suffers from having remade itself in line with the directives of the Council of Trent.
Now, Trent was a wonderful accomplishment. It was convened to protect the Church from the Protestant Reformation. It did very well at that, but it turned us into a copy of a football team that has a powerful defensive unit, but no offense. The thousands of canons from Trent all describe behavior that is anathema.
As a Catholic boy I confessed my sins once a month. As a Catholic seminarian I gave five minutes of my night prayers to an examination of my conscience, seeking out every venial sin and flaw. There wasn’t enough of the Boy Scout resolve to do a good deed a day.
Both Pope John and Pope Francis have been fully aware of the dislike old Catholics have of being told to alter their ways even a little. So, with Vatican II and with the two synods of Pope Francis the two great popes were hoping to bring us around to accepting some simple changes that will make us more what Christ wants his Church to be.