Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Coming Of AmChurch

Right now, there seems to be a lot of Catholic solidarity and WooHoo-ing here in the US. "The bishops are getting it!" "The Church is finally taking a stand!"

And so forth. There are perfectly good reasons for this response. However, I feel compelled to throw in a bit of cold water.

In these types of scenarios, there's almost always a Judas. What sort of effect he has is admittedly variable, but it's tough to think that the ranks will stay completely closed, especially after so many years of accommodation and surrender. People get habituated to that sort of thing, so for someone to break, it might not even be out of real malice or fear. It's just how things have been done.

We should all be prepared for somebody to play the role of "courageous dissent" (for that is how the media will portray him/them), and stab the Mystical Body of Christ in the back. And once one does, I'm afraid that others will follow. Maybe not a bunch of other bishops, but some laity will. Think Old Catholics or the Polish National Church.

As part of Lent, I'm getting a double dose of Thomas More. First, from the aforementioned Sadness of Christ written by the saint. Second, from Walker Percy in the form of the saint's namesake in the novel Love in the Ruins. In the latter work, a bad Catholic is reflecting on the state of the Church in a rather dystopian future state. There's a small remnant of the real Church that remains loyal to Rome. Then there are the Dutch schismatics, who are pretty much the Old Catholics who "value relevance but not God." the other group is the American Catholic Church which has its headquarters in Cicero, IL. They celebrate things like the Feast of Property Rights and play the national anthem when the Host is elevated.

I'm thinking Percy was prophetic here. This final outcome, though obviously satirical, looms very large now, I think. I don't think it can be reasonably denied that a de facto schism has existed in America for some time. All it will take is one bishop with sufficient pride to take the step that will change the status from de facto to de jure. My question is what will that step be.

So readers: what do you think? The following seem the most plausible options:

1. "Contraception is awesome."
2. "I now pronounce you husband and husband/wife and wife."
3. "Arise, Bishop Joan."

Am I missing anything? What do you think is most likely?

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