Monday, November 25, 2013

Oh, give us your deathless wisdom, do!

The thing that seems most clear about this papal questionnaire is that the idea of sending it out to the laity in parishes was a silly afterthought, possibly dreamed up by some low-to-mid level Vatican official who somehow heard a vague rumour (possibly from this mysterious "interwebs" thing everyone seems to talk about these days) that the laity needed to be made "more involved" in the Church's inner workings.

This is how the Church does things. The relevant dicasteries send out this kind of document to bishops for their feedback in preparation for any big event like a Synod. Then the bishops speak to their own relevant departments. Those convene committees to do the research and prepare fact-based responses for the bishop and his advisors. Then he tells them what he thinks and they prepare his formal response in consultation, with all relevant documentation (those "fact" thingies) attached, and he signs it and sends it back to Rome.

So, what has happened here is that someone has done the Normal Thing, and, possibly in response to being ordered to "involve the laity," has tacked the extra phrase "and to parishes" at the end of the usual introductory paragraph.

People, I guarantee you that there was no more thought to it than this. Really. That is how they do things here. If it deviates one iota from The Way We've Always Done Things, it's going to be a total botch.

The relative incomprehensibility of the questions to anyone who is not deeply involved and informed about the teachings and practices of the Church - and possessed of at least a passing familiarity with canon law, the bureaucratic processes of the Church and the relevant issues - is the best sign that this document was drafted by people who had no clew at. all. that it was ever even going to be read by laymen.

Anyone who does not know, at first glance, what the following means has no business offering any opinion:

"Could a simplification of canonical practice in recognizing a declaration of nullity of the marriage bond provide a positive contribution to solving the problems of the persons involved? If yes, what form would it take?"

No? Really? You sure?

'Cause this is just the short form, with the questions thought suitable by the UK bishops for lay beginners.

Ready for the big leagues, are we? Well, here's the full text. Knock yourself out.


Maybe something useful could come of it. We will now at least be able to say to those who scream and howl about more "involvement" by the laity, "Sure. Here ya go. Give us your timeless thoughts..."

These are the people who have been trained by their New York Times/Guardian/BBC masters to assume that the Church's teaching begins and ends with "Contraception bad!"

Oh dear, did we just receive an unpleasant lesson in what a pack of puffed-up, pig-ignorant little twits we really are?

There, there.

Here's some cat videos.


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