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Some conventional wisdom on the

Some conventional wisdom on the scandals in the Catholic Church: Church Itself Sowed Seeds of Scandal. It’s by a man named Oliver McTernan who ought to know what that wisdom is—after 30 years in active ministry promoting social justice he’s now an associate at the Harvard Center for International Affairs.

“The other [image of what the church should be] is the pilgrim people of God, each of equal standing as they gather around the eucharistic table.”

All modern politics is based on equality. Is his point that there aren’t any coverups in modern politics?

A democratic Catholic church would be something like the UN or EU, not democratic at all. It would be run by bureaucrats, “experts” and spin doctors, and you could never find who to was responsible for anything. In the present situation it’s clear who messed up and what the standards are—they can’t be subject to continual redefinition, because the hierarchy has to be able to appeal to them to justify their own (undemocratic) position.

“In the immediate aftermath of the council there was a creative tension as people were encouraged to explore the wonder and mystery of being part of the church that was not locked within the cultural and legal structures of previous centuries.”

Happy talk that covers up the real issues. The “wonder and mystery” was McTernan’s own excitement at being one of the people redefining the Church in line with their own concerns. It didn’t do anything for the man in the pew—a lot of them just stopped coming. And I’d rather have the Church locked within the cultural and legal structures of previous centuries than locked within the cultural and legal structures of America or the UN or whatever today. Then it would offer something that we don’t see on TV all the time anyway, although it wouldn’t give McTernan, his friends and their various projects as big a role.

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