Yes, its an old joke…the Bride of Christ wants a divorce but there are things to be learned about Irish Catholicism here after 60% voted for gay marriage or “marriage equality.”
One of the first is that you can’t put the genie back in the bottle or new wine into old wineskins.
For generations the Irish church was dominated by celibate clergy, full of themselves and the power slavishly granted to them by a supine laity. They were an arrogant lot. And they got worse under John Paul ll and Ratzinger.They, like bishops all over the world were placed in positions of power to shut down dialogue and stifle the lay voice. It never worked. The people demanded to be heard.
Now we just celebrated Pentecost where the Spirit is given to the whole church bur because of the long run of Constantinian Catholicism the bishops took over and like in any institution the ugly face of power prevailed.Hardly the message or style of Jesus of Nazareth.
As time went on, more and more Catholics became educated and at Vatican ll the Church was defined as the People of God and baptism not Holy Orders was enshrined as the central sacrament. Since Vatican ll Catholics “picked up their pallets and walked” and achieved a measure of maturity. Father no longer knew what was best. You simply could no longer ignore the Spirit in the 99% demanding to be heard and taken seriously.Ireland paid a terrible price for shutting the sensus fidelium down in the people. The best educated generations of Catholics in history kept ignoring the autocratic JP ll bishops who continued to believe they were the Church. The sad thing is that many have thrown out the baby with the bathwater.Not good.The great gifts of Catholicism need to be reappropriated in a nore democratic model of church.
The International Theological Commission of 2014 stated
The importance of the sensus fidei in the life of the Church was strongly emphasised by the Second Vatican Council. Banishing the caricature of an active hierarchy and a passive laity, and in particular the notion of a strict separation between the teaching Church (Ecclesia docens) and the learning Church (Ecclesia discens), the council taught that all the baptised participate in their own proper way in the three offices of Christ as prophet, priest and king. In particular, it taught that Christ fulfills his prophetic office not only by means of the hierarchy but also via the laity.
Ireland is but the tip of the iceberg in the Catholic world.Tensions will continue to proliferate as the Vatican ll priests retire and the JP ll ones attempt to reverse the fruits of the Spirit and the lay voice. The Pope will be promoting the sensus and the JP ll bishops now in place will either be converted or be like the Irish bishops, totally ignored as yesterday’s men.
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin not a favorite among the rump of Irish JP ll bishops was honest in his appraisal of this ne moment: “The church needs to take a reality check… It’s very clear there’s a growing gap between Irish young people and the church, and there’s a growing gap between the culture of Ireland that’s developing and the church.”