“I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.”
Here Emily Dickinson describes a certain unrecognized group of alienated Catholics, not those who have left the Church or stopped going to Mass, but those ministers, clergy and lay (including religious) who tote their unbelieving minds and weakened hearts to Mass or class, doing their utmost to convince others to believe what they themselves seriously question.
Ignoring the cognitive dissonance between what they teach/preach as “updated Catholicism,” these theological and ministerial “heroes/heroines” are part of the class of Emily Dickenson’s “nobodies”, fearful of being banished if ever they should come out of the doctrinaire closet into which Catholicism has been stuffed of late.
Even good Pope Francis struggles to open the doors of that closet with his key of Mercy. But mercy is only about closing a blind eye to doctrine when what is needed is a thorough transvaluation of doctrine…A core re-working of doctrine made using an updated standard, one evolved from a raised consciousness of humanity and its relationship to all other/Other.
Given the modern raised consciousness toward women, GLBT and other issues; the cognitive dissonance between what is preached and what is so otherwise self-evident is too great a disconnect for many. Catholicism, as it represents itself today, is a religion in denial, scratching its head while looking about blindly for explanations why previously highly-dedicated Catholics (clergy, lay and religious) have walked away along with the young who find no meaning in its closeted vaults.
Without a doubt, the Catholic Church as an institution will perpetuate itself. The question is, however: will that “smaller, purer” version of Catholicism be the “salt of the earth” which Jesus envisioned and which so many of us have tasted before and after the Second Vatican Council?
This matter does not have to remain so bleak as it appears. There are viable options, if we care/dare even to think about them, let alone discuss them.
Food for discussion: A Vatican II Rite Makes Sense for the Universal Catholic Church (Whistle a happy tune while it loads!)