“The time is sure to come when people will not accept sound teaching, but their ears will be itching for anything new and they will collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes” [2 Tim 4:3]
Saint Paul’s writings often turn out to be strikingly prophetical, especially considering the larger developments within the Christian communities. He wrote to the small communities in the Near East, Greece and Rome, but his inspired words are equally applicable to the modern world and Church. The above quote seems fitting today, in the aftermath of a memorandum from 143 German theologians who propose far-reaching changes in the Church, essentially protestantising it. Luckily, a quick glance at the headlines at Kath.Net reveals that the suggestions meet with some serious resistance from , at least, the German laity.
One of the strongest critics is Peter Seewald, the author of ‘Light of the World’, the best-selling book of interviews with the pope released last year. In an extensive commentary, Seewald rips the initiative of the theologians to shreds, calling it a neoliberal action against the very essence of the Church:
“Here we see a concerted action from neoliberal forces who want to force an accelerated restructuring which will deprive the Church of her essence and so her Spirit and strength. In the end there will be a worldly Church, in which not God, not the Gospel, but the autonomous member of the community will be measure of all things, directed by the high priests of the spirit of the times.”
Seewald continues by identifying the memorandum not as an uprising from the young, but a “rebellion in the nursing home”, identifying the whole general problem as a generation issue.
For those who read German (or have access to someone who can offer a proper translation), go read Seewald’s comments. They are not just applicable to this specific situation, but to so much of the current attitudes and actions of luke-warm Catholics. Just as St. Paul’s words still apply, really.
Artwork: David Myers
Photo credit: Franco Origlia/Getty Images