“Much of the analysis of the malaise of our church right now among centrist Catholics comes nowhere near recognizing how dire the pastoral situation is for many of their fellow Catholics, for whom the key questions are no longer whether we should be intoning "consubstantial" or "one in being with," but for whom the key questions are about finding and sustaining any sense of divine presence at all in a church that has revealed such a savage face to many of its own followers and to the world in general.”To my mind, the Divine presence lies within and without the church. The radical statement of Jesus that “the kingdom of God is within you” (luke 17:21) testifies to this. The Kingdom of God does not lie exclusively within or without the church. Many of the frustrations of so called lay people in the RC Church today can find hope in these words of Jesus. Jesus refers to the Kingdom of God often insisting “it is like . . . .” Not defining infallibly what it is.
In John Joseph O’Donnell’s book, ‘Karl Rahner, Life in the Spirit’ (pg 78) he writes, “for Rahner, the Church of the future will be a little flock. But this doesn’t make it a sect. Rather these communities of the Church will be communities of witness, communities that preach the gospel and that seek to live the gospel beatitudes and hence to be a light to the world.”
These challenges are faced in many of the Independent catholic churches. They too don’t always get it right but at least try to free God for others and free others for God. My hope lies in the Independent movement. Not so much concerned with churchianity as with living the gospel, living a sacramental life and being open to all.
I love being labelled a ‘syncretist.’ It’s used as a term of abuse by conservative catholics and is almost orthodoxy for those who follow the spirit wherever it blows, who do not know where it comes from or where it blows. I am happy not to know the answers and even happier not to need the answers !
As for “catholic occupying things,” perhaps “catholics occupying sacramental priesthood” is a step down the road, as priesthood almost regulates who can and who can’t receive the sacramental life of the church. The “Society of St Pius X,” could be considered a sub group of “Catholics occupying things.” They have a valid but illicit sacramental life. No less than the more liberal elements of schismatic churches such as the “Ecumenical Catholic Church.” Let us all strive to be ‘Mothers of God’ in this world that so badly needs to recognise and be recognised by the Divine presence in our midst.