Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves. Mt. 10:16.
In a recent article the Washington Post noted that there are a number of groups who are banding together as “laity” to demand accountability of their priests and bishops. That’s all well and good, but we shouldn’t think that just because some people have joined together under a single banner to make demands upon the hierarchy that they necessarily have the best interests of the Catholic Church or its adherents in mind.
Take, for example, the group that calls itself “5theses”, highlighted in the Washington Post article. In imitation of Protestant Martin Luther, who did so much to tear the Catholic Church apart, they are allegedly posting their “five theses” on the doors of various churches. What do they demand? In addition to “Transparency”, they demand that “every diocesan newspaper in the country” set aside space in every issue “for survivors of clergy sexual abuse to share their stories”. They also demand that bishops “shed the royal raiment and regalia of the episcopate” and “put women in church leadership… [including] reopen[ing] the discussion of women’s ordination, and to name women as cardinals at the next consistory and at every consistory going forward until a balance is achieved,” and require every church to pray a certain prayer every Sunday for a “reformed church” that meets their definition of the Church that Christ established.
In other words, to create a new Protestant denomination out of the existing Catholic Church. Martin Luther would be proud.
Here at The Laity, we respect and pray for all of the members of the Holy Roman Catholic Church – priests, religious, bishops, laity, and our Holy Father. Our goal is not to tear the Church apart and remake it in our image. Our mission is to engage with the hierarchy on these important issues and ensure that the Church is adhering to its own mission to preach the Gospel to all nations (Mt 24:14). We welcome those who would join in this effort. We do not welcome those who seek, like the “5theses” group, to make the Church into something it was never intended to be, something other than what Christ himself intended it to be.
To those who demand to remake the Church in their own image, I leave them with this closing line from William F. Buckley: “Search for the perfect church it you will; when you find it, join it, and realize that on that day it becomes something less than perfect.” But leave our Church alone.