Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All it takes...

It's taken a while to process the experience of a week outside of my own rather safe environment. My previous posting probably erred on the side of hopefulness and it's taken a week to restore some sort of personal charity before hitting the blogosphere again. Mind you, things seem to have gone a bit tame 'out there' at the moment. Anyhow the conference was well worth attending, on the intellectual level, but as an experience of unity in the faith it was a bit dissapointing. The usual jibes at Rome seemed to have stepped up rather than moderated. It was obvious who, in Buffyspeak, was the 'big bad' of this episode. Anything that was an absolute, in faith terms, was up for grabs. The ecclesiastical confusion of the 1980s seemed to have returned as protestant clergy attempted to confect sacraments and sacramentals for the mainly Catholic participants. I made my excuses from anything that looked 'dangerous' before the first full day, by the way.

It begs the question what good can one voice do within an overwhelming see of 'anti-tradition'. But I answer my own question very quickly as I think back over the last twenty years and how far things have improved. In many cases it has been one solitary voice that has been the catalyst for change in the right direction which might make the last forty years look like a blip in the big picture of Church history sort of like the Avignon papacy. I think then of two dioceses. In both cases a bishop was appointed breaking the general pattern of appointments in their respective countries and acting as a rallying point for the right minded at the end of the darkest hours. The reform of these dioceses, with a consequent upsurge of vocations in both places, eventually spread from these rural back waters and took hold in two national hierarchies. In those places the tide began to turn and men became bishops who are now wielding considerable influence for good.

In all these cases the quality of quiet persistence was very important. The dogged holding on to what really matters, the positive correction of error, the willingness to be unpopular for the good of the faithful. These are the tools that will win in the long run.

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