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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More good words from Pope Benedict XVI

His address to the well-oiled machinery of the Church in Germany has so much to say! Please read it! It complements my previous post, and he points to a deeper crisis of faith even where the facade of the Church may appear strong and vigorous. The spirit of suspicion and rebellion in the Church today certainly betrays a lack in all departments of faith, hope and love.

For example, I recently received a correspondence outlining certain strong suggestions to the Australian bishop's conference. One of these is to make bishops more accountable to the priests and laity of the diocese. While this is laudable in many respects, the tone of suspicion and power struggle suggests a discordant thought. The lines of authority in the Church, reasonably described in the New Testament and further clarified and foreshadowed in the Old Testament, paint the figure of a hierarchy. This structure, however, is not founded upon the backs of the laity, as if evoking the assembly "of the people, by the people and for the people." It is founded upon the cornerstone, Jesus Christ, on which were laid the foundation of the apostles, starting with Peter the Rock, and who did not leave us orphans, but established apostolic succession with the office of bishops. Taking these suggestions of flattening the structure (if that is what it is) to its ludicrous conclusion, we end up with a strange notion of making Christ, our High Priest and King, accountable to the ministerial priests who exist through his priestly ministry, and the laity who share the common priesthood, kingship and prophetic office through His.

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