As a theologian I am trying to ponder how the recent events of Catholic history can be seen through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. Is there some good that come out of so much anguish, so much betrayal, so much disappointment with the false direction the church has taken under Pope John Paul II and Ratzinger? And I come to a clear conclusion that Yes, the Holy Spirit is still at work in the events of deconstruction and reconstruction that are at hand. It is time to restart the church. Let many of its forms go; let them die as they are doing.
. . . The “s” word rarely gets used these days but I think that schism properly summarizes what the past two papacies have been about. They deliberately turned their back on a valid Ecumenical Council and in doing so are in schism. This means that its appointed cardinals and bishops are in schism. They do not represent the lineage of the church. This opens up whole new possibilities of seeing the church anew. All the Yes men and sycophants that have lined up at the papal trough for a piece of the power these recent decades are seen for what they are in their transparent reality.
. . . I believe, the most important direction that religion needs to go in its reconstruction—that is spirituality, the experiential dimension of religion. The mystical-prophetic tradition I have been recovering including the Cosmic Christ, Hildegard, Aquinas, Eckhart, Julian and others, together with today’s post-modern science, offers new and deeper expressions of healthy religion. They are among the treasure to take from the burning building.
Let us remember what Thomas Aquinas taught about religion. That it is, he felt, primarily a virtue, that is a habit that persons carry within them. Indeed, for Aquinas religion’s essence is Gratitude. Gratitude for existence. This means that institutions are NOT what religion is primarily about. What goes on in the heart and mind and gives birth to outer form is what is at the essence of religion. This means that social constructs like basilicas, cathedrals, churches, vaticans, popes, cardinals, bishops, canon laws, etc. are on the periphery of real religion. And they render themselves religiously irrelevant when their thrust at certain times of history is very far from the love and compassion and service that Jesus preached. They have more to do with accumulation of power and prestige and institutional and personal ego.
– Matthew Fox
"Interview on The Pope's War"
"Interview on The Pope's War"
Recommended Off-site Links:
The American Catholic Conference: Küng Starts Things Off But I Write About Fox – Colleen Kochivar-Baker (Enlightened Catholicism, June 11, 2011).
Tongues of Fire Burning the Building Down – Jayden Cameron (The Open Tabernacle, June 12, 2011).
For more of Matthew Fox at The Wild Reed, see:
The Gifts of Homosexuality
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Catholicism's Future is "Up to the Laity"
The Vision of Vatican II
Keeping the Spark Alive: An Interview with "Modern-Day Mystic" Chuck Lofy
In the Garden of Spirituality – Jeanette Blonigen Clancy
In the Garden of Spirituality – Adrian Smith
In the Garden of Spirituality – Paulo Coelho
In the Garden of Spirituality – Ron Rolheiser
In the Garden of Spirituality – Joan Chittister
What It Means to Be Catholic
A Return to the Spirit