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Why the Catholic Church's Current Crisis Is the Worst Since the Reformation

Massimo Faggioli, the author of this article starts out strong in his analysis of the parallels between the Reformation crisis of the 16th century and the sexual abuse scandals of today, but unfortunately, he goes off the rails once he gets into delineating the two competing Catholic visions held within the Church today. In the quote below, he confuses the neo-conservative movement in the United States with those of us who work for the promulgation and promotion of orthodoxy in moral matters:

Where conservative-traditionalist Catholics tend to oppose to (sic) any legislation decriminalizing abortion, progressives usually favor decriminalization coupled with measures that offer women alternatives designed to limit the number of abortions as much as possible. Conservatives tend to oppose universal access to health care and favor the unrestricted right to bear arms for civilians, while progressives favor the former and push for gun control. The two camps also have opposing views on the death penalty and on Francis’ recent change to the Catechism declaring capital punishment “inadmissible.” In general, conservatives favor shrinking government, while progressives see government services and public authorities as essential to promote the common good in civil society. These political rifts between the two Catholic camps have never been deeper in modern times, especially in the Western world.

Having proffered a parody of orthodox voices concerned with the direction that Pope Francis is leading the faithful, he then jumps to a false conclusion that these 'two camps' are irreconcilable. As a result, he can see nothing more than decades and decades of warfare between them.

He is also wrong in his prediction for how the Papacy will 'evolve' during this time of conflict. He states that Vatican II:

had very little success in reforming the institutional structure of the church and papacy. Although the proposals coming from the bishops at Vatican II for radical changes in the Roman Curia (the central government of the church) were carefully listened to by Paul VI (himself a creature of the Roman Curia), he ultimately decided to withdraw the agenda from Vatican II. The sex abuse crisis today stems in large part from 50 years of a papal office rejecting any proposal for decentralizing or modernizing a Roman Curia whose structure has changed little since its foundation in 1588, in the period immediately following the Council of Trent.
So in his opinion, it has been the failure of the Pontiff to decentralize the workings of the Church that has led to our current troubled state. Yet he offers no evidence to substantiate his correlation of these two events. Put simply, he conflates correlation with causation and then uses his logical error to promote his own favorite hobby horse cause of stripping the Papacy and the Curia of their traditional role of establishing proper doctrine and teaching and leaving it to local churches to confront the issues that the Church faces in the 21st century with their own initiatives and propositions. Such a direction would simply strip the faithful of the graces that flow from the Petrine office and lead to a patchwork quilt of different teachings in different corners of the world. In such a scenario, the center could not hold and the Church would be dealt a potentially fatal body blow emperiling her mission as the Barque of salvation intended to bring the faithful to our promised salvation and redemption.

But don't take my word for it. Click on the link and read the article for yourself and come to your own conclusion as to the merits or lack thereof of Faggioli's argument.

Why the Catholic Church's Current Crisis Is the Worst Since the Reformation


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