An arrogant “donkey-bishop”, Catholic variety, had the gall to sneer at the United Church when a friend came to talk to him.Typical of too many of the JP2 brand of imposed bishops, this man was full of hubris in impugning a fellow Christian community. So convinced is he of the fullness of truth within the precincts of Catholicism, that he cannot envision any other Church adding anything to wisdom.It is of no import to him that for every one who enters the Roman Church three are leaving because of the failed leadership and hubris official spokespeople like his lordship.
As stated in a previous essay, one of the stunning new movements of the Spirit, one of the obvious “signs of the times” in the post Vatican ll era has been the deep understanding that the Holy has been speaking forcefully through the earth and indeed the cosmos.
But one would ever know this at the parish level in most Catholic churches. In Catholic parishes we are spectaculat undertachievers in hearing the summons of the Spirit as she appears in ecological movements. We obsess about the Serra club (a group dedicated to fostering male appliocants to the prieshood); we should have a Sierra Club in every parish in North America.
There are many reasons for missing the Spirit call in the midst of the rising cry of the earth in our time. One alluded to in a previous essay was our tardiness in moving away from the “fall redemption” theology we all grew up with. This focused on the Crucifixion and the price paid for our salvation by Jesus.The desire for this “personal salvation” and the excessive fear of hell and hope for the heavenly realm trumped everything. Redemption has usurped creation for too many of us. Focused on heaven, we have forgotten the earth and the summons of the immanent God.We have devalued our material order. Given the sacramental nature of Catholicism this is a stunning lapse.Fr.Richard McBrien in his book Catholicism sums up the sacramental principle for us:
No theological principle or focus is more characteristic of Catholicism or more central to its identity than the principle of sacramentality. The Catholic vision sees God in and through all things: in other people, communities, movements, events, places, objects, the world at large, the whole cosmos. The visible, the tangible, the finite, the historical—all these are actual or potential carriers of the divine presence. Indeed, it is only in and through these material realities that we can even encounter the invisible God,
Prescinding upon this, Leonardo Boff states the obvious:
“ For those who see everything in terms of God the entire world is one grand sacrament.Every thing and every historical event appear as sacraments of God and God’s divine will.”
One would think that churches, and in particular, Catholicism would change over time to reflect this orientation. The Earth is our central sacrament Yet we still are stuck with the Nicene Creed, a fourth century summation of belief. This hardly names our present reality and leaves this generation cold.
Notice here below how the United Church has changed to reflect this new “sign of the time.”It has moved beyond the strictly human obsession with ourselves as the sole locus of ethics to a more encompassing cosmic theology which addresses both ecocide and biocide. Seminaries are still pedalling outdated curricula.
A New Creed
We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.
and here are three books tro consider:
The Dream of the Earth Tom Berry–A primer on ecology an the New Story
Gaia and God Rosemary Ruether More on the New Cosmology
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth- Matthew Fox