A Watershed this Week?
This week may mark a watershed in modern Catholicism. On Wednesday, the Amazonia Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation will be released (more on that later in the week). Ever since that head-spinning event (Pachamama was only the most conspicuous disorder), we have seemed to be headed to major changes on priestly celibacy, deaconesses, and – in several respects – the very nature of the Church.
It’s rumored in Rome that Pope Francis may have retreated a bit on those issues now, perhaps owing to the controversy over the Cardinal Sarah/Benedict XVI book defending priestly celibacy. The Exhortation may “only” recommend establishing a commission on celibacy. If true, we’ll still have yet another case of papal ambiguity. The faithful will be left trying to determine whether the commission is intended really to “study,” or to create an expectation – as happened in the 1960s, with the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control.
Either way, by intention or not, the current papacy has brought back something that we thought died in 1978 with the election of Karol Wojtyla: the feeling that virtually everything in the Church is up for grabs, not only celibacy and deaconesses, but marriage, sexuality, Hell, the Devil, Communion, teaching authority. Jorge Bergoglio may be pope in Rome, but it often seems these days that many of the ideas he entertains are manufactured in Germany.