Signs of the Times Part 1

The recent article in CRUX about the gay priest who “came out” on the eve of the Synod caught my interest. Here is the article:

Here are my posted comments:

“Sexual orientation is not a choice, but becoming a priest and taking a vow of celibacy is a very serious choice. I have no problem with anyone stating their opinion on gay marriage or priestly celibacy. My problem is with taking a vow and then deciding to accept the dishonesty of living a shadow life in a relationship. I applaud Fr Charamsa for deciding to be honest about his situation, but I wish he took the steps to be released from his vows before establishing the relationship. This has nothing to do with sexual orientation or celibacy. It has to do with keeping promises.”

What’s going on here?

Augustinus’ article on homosexuality recognizes the worldwide, revolutionary change in attitudes on sexual orientation that have come about in the past decade and overturned popular opinion in just a few, short years. In my opinion, this recent change reflects a similar revolutionary shift in popular opinion on pre-marital sex, birth control and divorce that swept the world in the 1960’s. To me, the most fascinating aspect of these mega-shifts in popular opinion is the speed and universality of the changes, rather than the changes themselves (I am sure Sociologists are having a field day).  These changes, along with the equally dramatic departure of the faithful from Catholicism, reflect the incredible capacity for rapid change enabled by a connected society.  The Catholic Church now finds itself on the losing end of these changes due to it’s inability to react in real time to societal change and it’s continued reliance on a hierarchical structure that has been rendered irrelevant by a society that no longer believes in sin. This is the critical juncture for Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular. In a tug-of-war between Catholicism and popular culture, it is clear that popular culture is winning. I suspect Pope Francis sees this clearly and understands the urgency of the situation.

The major issues for the Church are not the issues of birth control, divorce, homosexuality, or marriage. The major issue for the Church is what to do when no one cares what the Bishops say about birth control, divorce, homosexuality and marriage.  After all, it is clear that a vast majority of Catholics practice birth control. It is also clear that many divorced Catholics still attend Church and receive Communion.  Now what?

The past 100 years will be remembered through history as the period where monarchies fell and the world experimented with new ways to govern themselves. I see the Catholic Church’s hierarchical irrelevancy as the last gasp of the ancient, monarchical system and the beginning of a rebirth in Christianity that will rediscover the centrality of Jesus Christ through the embrace of servant leadership. However, this can only happen if our Bishops recognize their inability to control through fear and recognize the signs of the times.






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