The Church needs “the Third Person”.

In the gospel for the 6th Sunday  of Easter(April 27), part of John’s inspiring Farewell discourse, two points should be made, points the Roman Church has glossed over.

The first is obvious—that we are not abandoned. The world (comsos always has a negative connotation in John) which appears to be triumphant and sometimes overwhelming in its darkness, will not overwhelm. “Another Advocate will be given”—sometimes called Paraclete (the same word in Greek) or Comforter will abide in us. God’s Holy Spirit can also be named the Spirit of Resistance—a Force which emboldens us to speak up and resist is always  present. Feel free to use your own metaphor here.

The Roman Church has always been very slow to appreciate a good pneumatology (doctrine of the Spirit) preferring a fundamentalist Christology (Dorothy Solle calls this a Christofascism)—a Mel Gibson-like once and for all time sacrifice–which leaves little room for change or movement. It anchors us in the past and fearful of the future.

In John’s language, this Spirit “is coming to you…because I live, you also will live.” He tells us that “he abides with you and he will be in you.”

That is in the church, in all Christians–not just the hierarchy but in you. hence the importance of a deeper appreciation of the sensus fidelium.


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