“[T]here is a temptation to seek God in the past or in a possible future. God is certainly in the past because we can see the footprints. And God is also in the future as a promise. But the ‘concrete’ God, so to speak, is today. For this reason, complaining never helps us find God. The complaints of today about how ‘barbaric’ the world is — these complaints sometimes end up giving birth within the church to desires to establish order in the sense of pure conservation, as a defence. No: God is to be encountered in the world of today.
“God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history. Time initiates processes, and space crystallises them. God is in history, in the processes.
“We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes. We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history. This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics. And it requires patience, waiting. …
When I insist on the frontier, I am referring in a particular way to the need for those who work in the world of culture to be inserted into the context in which they operate and on which they reflect. There is always the lurking danger of living in a laboratory. Ours is not a ‘lab faith,’ but a ‘journey faith,’ a historical faith. God has revealed himself as history, not as a compendium of abstract truths. I am afraid of laboratories because in the laboratory you take the problems and then you bring them home to tame them, to paint them, out of their context. You cannot bring home the frontier, but you have to live on the border and be audacious.”
So, then, just how are things going in the unbarbaric frontier of the world?
“Belgian Catholics, inspired by Francis, are calling for a mother Church that embraces all: hence the need to grow in the faith and form lively communities,” SIR highlights. The questionnaires also placed an emphasis on the essential role women can play in Church life: ‘It is they who pass on the faith to children and guide them,’ Belgian Catholics point out. …
“The doctrine on marriage, responsible fatherhood and the family is rejected in non-ecclesial circles (sometimes even in ecclesial ones),’ because the Church is seen as a stranger and as not competent in these areas. … There was simply an appeal to the Church to ‘accept reality as it is and not try to change it with moral models’ and to be welcoming and merciful.“
As I recently noted, the evidence shows that men are more signifcant in the longterm transmission of the faith, but Francis seems preoccupied with the ancillary role of women, almost as if he were, like, playing to the dominant constituency right now, or something. It’s not as pastorally solvent, but the reality, as Robbie Low concludes, is that
“if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). If a father goes but irregularly to church, regardless of his wife’s devotion, between a half and two-thirds of their offspring will find themselves coming to church regularly or occasionally.”
But wait, there’s more.
“‘Right now, the less-developed world is staying true to the old world values, but it’s gradually eroding even there. [Pope Francis] doesn’t want to lose the legitimacy of the more educated people,’ he added.
“After his election to the papacy 11 months ago, Francis seemed to immediately grasp the significance of the divisions among the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. He has chosen inclusive language, has played down the importance of following the hierarchy and has warned against the church locking itself up ‘in small-minded rules.’ The poll reflects previous ones in finding that the vast majority of Catholics appreciate his approach.” …
Since the liberalizing and divisive Second Vatican Council, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II appeared to approach the gap with an explicit plan: Narrow it. They emphasized doctrine and called for institutions that wanted to call themselves Catholic to follow the rules.Benedict prompted a lot of debate by saying and writing that a period of shrinkage seemed inevitable if the church was to stick to its teachings.
So what is Pope Francis’s plan, if he has one?
Critics say his solicitation of opinions wrongly gives the appearance that Catholicism is a democracy. Others — including the authors of this poll — say there’s no evidence that he would touch doctrine and is seeking a deeper understanding of why so many Catholics reject church teachings so as to better market them.
Casanova said it’s not clear what Francis plans to do with the research, but the approach “fits with his idea of the church going out into the world and encountering the world as it is, not expecting the world to come to it.”
Keep enjoying that normalcy bias, folks, it makes the Kool-Aid go down so much easier.