Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Swivel-eyed loonery and Pope Francis
When the leadership of the Conservative party describes its activists as "swivel-eyed loons" there is obviously a vast gap between the leadership and the party on the ground. There are only two possibilities 1) the party activists will leave and join something else like UKIP or 2) simply carry-on half-heartedly but fight against the leadership and eventually depose it. A third possibility, I suppose, for the leadership, is to change the membership.
There was a time when it seemed that the Church's leadership in this country seemed to see much of its membership as "swivel-eyed loons" who needed to get with the programme. There was a tremendous gulf between the leadership and "activists" and suddenly we found Mass attendance plummeted along with vocations and practically everything else, see the statistics on the LMS site. The response by Hume and Warlock was to attempt to restructure the Church in England and Wales, which still hasn't quite worked, still there seems to be a gulf between the leadership and activists: those pro-lifers, traddies, those expect fidelity to the Magisterium and object to the The Tablet and would avoid Tina lecture. And rather like the Conservative Party (the same could be said for most of the other parties too) the Church seems concerned about internal issues rather than any serious attempt at mission or proclamation of its message.
The problem for both the Church and the political parties at the moment is that they both lack any "big idea", apart from "Equalities". For politicians this manifests itself in gay "marriage" and therefore the unequal ascendancy of the Homocracy; for the Catholic Church it has unleashed a whole raft of "equality" issues that seem to undermine the essential Catholic message of its uniqueness, Divine origin, the priesthood and much else.
In politics and religion the absence of any "big idea" is likely to result in the irrelevance of both. "Equality" in religious terms has led to seeing all religions as being the same and none of any particular value and all worshipping at the altar of "niceness". In politics it will result in the short term of endless legal wrangling but eventually a politics that lacks any distinctions where all parties attempt to impose a rainbow fascism on its citizenry by control of their speech and even thought.
Perhaps Pope Francis is offering a possibility of alternative, a big idea, for Christians to get behind, of reaching out to "the poor". In our present economic situation is it possible that this could actually be an attractive idea for politicians too?
Posted by Fr Ray Blake