Recently at a Forum conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago on the legacy of Vatican II presented by Cardinal Francis George the Cardinal was asked a question he was obviously uncomfortable with. The question asked “Does Vatican II have anything to say about the relationship between the “Sense of the Faithful” and the “Magisterium”.
The Cardinal’s response was somewhat vague, and he immediately promoted the “Teaching Magisterium” over the “Sense of the Faithful”. He seemed to feel that there was no way to gauge the “Sense of the Faithful “except maybe through polls, and this was not how the Church conducted business.
The response indicated that the Cardinal appeared to be opposed to change in the way the Church acts and inferring the questioner might have a hidden agenda.
Most reasonable people would view the Church’s present circumstances as being in need of repair and/or conversion. What is called for is not a superficial change of garments, but rather a change of heart. The question is would Cardinal George be open to a serious self-examination, honesty, transparency, humility and a firm commitment to amend his ways when it comes to the abuse of authority highlighted most graphically in the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Conversion demands nothing less than rebirth — becoming a new person, a new church.
Remember when Cardinal George presided over the US Conference of Catholic Bishops he said “If there is a loosening of relationship between ourselves and those whom Christ has given us to govern in love, it is for us to reach out and re-establish connections necessary for all to remain in communion.” Was this statement meaningless, or was the Cardinal sincere?
Currently the Catholic churches in English speaking countries will find themselves confronted with a change in the spoken word of the Liturgy. Another example of the “Sense of the Faithful” being dismissed By overturning the previous committee’s work on the Liturgy the Vatican has said loud an clear it knows best, and has no need for input from the laity which the previous commission represented.
Vatican II produced a work fundamental in the renewal of ecclesiology a view that was supported by then Cardinal Ratzinger; however now as Pope Benedict XVI no longer embraces this view. A view that the Cardinal also embraces.
It is important that members of the Rainbow Sash Movement continue to ask what is the relationship between the “Sense of the Faithful” and the “Magisterium”. We believe it is the key to unlock the door of hierarchal abuse, and allow for reform in the Church.
Rainbow Sash Movement.