Sunday, February 8, 2015

More than Casting out the Money-changers

"Una vera riforma della Curia romana e della Chiesa ha l’obiettivo di render più luminosa la missione del Papa e della Chiesa nel mondo di oggi e di domani." 

In Italian, in the L'Osservatore Romano of 7 February, Gerhard Müller, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, illustrates in close knit fashion what should be the basis of Curial or Church reform. The title translates: Purifying the Temple. My guess would be that the Cardinal did not pick the title; it fits better the media story line we've been hearing ever since the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI. The Prefect is as "eminently" eloquent as he is brief in laying the premises for reform in our day and time. The Cardinal's presentation on what has and still does make a reform in the Church is clear-eyed and cool-headed; we need more of such.

Why then does so much of what you read on the topic of curial reform and the upcoming synod of bishops read like a culture wars narrative? It may not be the stuff of an adventure movie or a political expose about some corrupt congressman, but in point of fact Church reform is not about cleaning out anybody's long neglected stable but about something organic, cued by our Lord and Savior Jesus Himself and the millennial tradition of the Church He is not about to leave orphaned. Other than attentiveness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I think it would be a good counsel to avoid "salti mortali" which smack of reinventing the wheel.

These days we celebrated St. Agnes and a new policy for the conferral of the pallium on metropolitan archbishops was announced. Probably for filler, somebody republished the pictures of that "new" pallium copied out of images from the early Church, which Pope Benedict XVI after politely trying for a while abandoned in favor of one much like the traditional one, only with red crosses instead of black. Pope Francis has come full circle back to where we were ten years ago and everybody is pleased. In small matters and in great, much of the will to change or "improve" is born of unrest, of some sort of "itch" not attributable to the promptings of the Spirit.

No doubt the press will have a field day from now until the Holy Father and the Curia go off on their annual Lenten retreat. We must just endure and hope that cooler heads in Rome will prefer the promptings coming from the Lord Who will not leave His flock untended. And so we pray.....

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