The Vatican Council described itself as “a signs of the times” council.
The People of God believes that it is led by the Lord’s Spirit, Who fills the earth. Motivated by this faith, it labors to decipher authentic signs of God’s presence and purpose in the happenings, needs and desires in which this People has a part along with other men of our age. For faith throws a new light on everything, manifests God’s design for man’s total vocation, and thus directs the mind to solutions which are fully human.
This is a consistent biblical belief—from Genesis to Revelation.The Hebrew scsriptures nod to this can best be summed up in Wisdom:
The spirit of the Lord, indeed, fills the whole world, and that which holds all things together knows every word that is said. Wisdom 1:7
This simply reiterated the traditional belief that God’s Holy Spirit which has always been active in the world is still operative.
As the filler im the old Tonight Show used to say, “More to come.”
Now those of us who have accepted that we are living in an evolving cosmos welcome this hope-filled truism.The Roman Catholic church has difficulty with it in reality.
If the world evolves, so too must forms of church. As the Council insisted even the Church is “semper reformanda.”
This challenges the monarchical, clerical and patriarchal institution which is reluctant to surrender the old paradigm.
Even though the Church contains the ever-present nudging of this Spirit and also the best-educated generation of Cartholics in history, it has yet to really imbibe the new wine.Yet this wine is bursting the old wine skins.
In effect this is a denial of the Holy Spirit.
Yet the aging institution has always had trouble with “the new”—the French Revolution, the Enlightenment, the end of colonialism.Our history is replete with embarrassing rejections of modernity’s gifts such as evolution and those mentioned above. This is not to say that the Spirit comes totally free of error.ideology or partial realizations.The good wheat always carries the weeds: “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.” (MAtt 13:29,30) There is always need for discernment.The fullness of truth will only come with “the harvest.”
The Church has always had difficulty with acknowledging truth, spirit life outside its narrow borders. Our god was always too small.We had lost sight of that other Person of the Trinity, the one the great Yves Congar called, The forgotten God.”
In my last article I used the example which John XXll flagged in 1963, the growing demand of women for full inclusion at every level of the Church.
Almost 50 years on the ecclesial iceberg is melting. The 99% of the Church is demanding to be heard, to be seriously listened to.The old men of Rome and their carefully vetted provincial satraps increasingly are refusing the necessary dialogue which could free up the institution.