Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pope Francis vs. Adolescent Progressivism

[via CNA]

The progress of the Church can be hindered by the dual temptations of wanting to remain in the past and “adolescent progressivism,” Pope Francis said.

The danger of a progressive approach to the Holy Spirit is that believers becomes “like teenagers who in their enthusiasm want to have everything, and in the end? You slip up…”

I have made the comment to a few people to a few different times that the Church's growing pains since the Second Vatican Council can be attributed to a kind of 'teenage period' in the faith. It seems that the Pope agrees.

For too long, the lay faithful were encouraged to have a child-like outlook on the Church's teachings ("Because Father said so!"). This was, I think, a result of a kind of 'circling of the wagons' in the post-Reformation period.

Certainly, we are called to receive the Kingdom of God as a child (Mark 10:15). Yet, Jesus himself warns us that this is a call to innocence of heart and not naivete: "Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves" (Matt. 10:16). The Council Fathers recognized that for the Church to effectively engage the modern world that we would have to mature in our understanding of the faith.

Inevitably, the process of maturing involves asking questions and questioning assumptions. When the questions are honest and motivated by a desire to understand more deeply, this is a good thing. However it can degrade into petulance and rebelliousness. We have all seen this pattern play out in our own personal lives!

I think it has been playing out for the last 50 years in the Church. I pray that the collective influence of our last three Pontiffs: the faith and devotion of JPII, the theological depth of BXVI and the lived example of Pope Francis will move us through that phase into a more mature, evangelical Catholic faith

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