A striking feature of the modern Catholic Church, from a progressive perspective, is the alarming disconnect between pronouncements and formal doctrine coming out of the Vatican and its claque, and the views and practice of the majority of real Catholics in the pews (or out of them, as so many refuse to participate in a dysfunctional church).
Conversely, from the perspective of traditional Catholics, the striking feature of the church is the audacity of those who seldom if ever attend Church, or make any attempt to follow the Catechism and teaching, in even calling themselves “Catholic”.
The two sides tend to speak only to their own sympathisers, seldom even referring to their opponents except in terms of rancour and / or disdain. Can the two sides learn to talk together constructively, in an authentically Catholic spirit of openness and charity? Phil Tanny is one Catholic who would like to make the effort.
I first came across Phil some months back, when he wrote to me (and many other Catholic bloggers) about his website, “Catholic Talk“, which was an attempt to provide a series of on- line forums for Catholics to debate a range of topical and possibly controversial subjects. He has since written again, to introduce a companion site, Catholic Unity (“Encouraging Healing and Unity Within the Catholic Community”), and asked me to place a guest post on promoting Catholic unity at my personal blog, “Queering the Church”. That, however, has a specific focus on issues of sexuality and gender, and although primarily Catholic, is not exclusively so.
It does seem to me that his aims are worthwhile, and so I am instead placing his piece as a guest post here, at The Open Tabernacle – together with extracts from some of his other posts, which will give some flavor of what he is about. (For now, I do so without any comment on, or endorsement of, his substantive proposals, but I do look forward to reading others’ responses. I’ll add my own, later).
At his introductory post, Encouraging Catholic Unity, Phil described the project in this way:
Greetings, welcome to Catholic-Unity.org.
The purpose of this blog is to serve as a resource for those whose primary focus is to encourage unity and healing in a too often divided Catholic community.
This blog, and the parent site will provide research, articles, projects and tools to serve this mission.
Also worth reading, is a follow-up post, “My Education Begins“, in which he describes some of the responses to the hundreds of approaches he made, along with the one to myself.
Yesterday (Nov 19 2012) I mailed this article regarding healing the Catholic community to about 700 Catholic bloggers and organizations.
The replies began flowing in almost immediately, and my education began.
In my email I specifically asked for feedback, pro or con, for or against, and was gratified and grateful that so many (most of whom don’t know me personally) were generous enough to respond to this request from a stranger.
The first response, which arrived within minutes, was brief but quite interesting, and helps to illustrate the evolution I will have to undergo myself if I want to be spokesperson for Catholic unity.
It was a quick email from the office of a very well known Catholic, indicating they would NOT (their emphasis) be publishing my article, and requesting to be removed from my mailing list.
From the tone of the email it seemed clear they wanted nothing to do with this particular Catholic unity campaign, which of course is fully their right.
And so God immediately presented me with the challenge that many of us will have to face if we want a healing of our community.
I find it satisfying and reassuring to know that he has at least a sense of humor. When I replied to his email with an apology for not having replied to some earlier correspondence, he mentioned in passing that he expects to have completed uniting the Catholic Church – in a few days:
You should feel guilty about feeling guilty, 🙂 as you are not obligated to me in any way. I’m always happy to hear from you any time, but we’re not on a schedule. I’ll write again as soon as I’m done uniting the Catholic Church. Should only be a few days. 🙂
I look forward to following this project, with interest. What do you think?