The above photo is of Cardinal Pell of Sydney Australia celebrating a Traditional Latin Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, this past week. The service was held in Rome.
The picture to the left depicts Jesus calling Peter and Andrew to be his apostles. They were simple fisherman.
The history of Roman Catholic tradition is supposed to explain how the Holy Spirit inspired our leadership to progress from simple fishermen to Imperial Cardinal.
I have a problem with believing the Holy Spirit inspired the Church to take on Imperial trappings and a Romanesque military hierarchy, and make them dogma.
I don't see the rough and tumble fisherman in Cardinal Pell and his entourage. I do see boatloads of fish in the cost of their vestments.
I don't see love operating in Masses in which the pomp and circumstance become more important than the truth of the Eucharist. Where form matters more than content, where the devotion and awe is purposely centered on the celebrants and not the Mass itself.
I grew up with the Latin Mass and the gold filigree and the mountains of lace. It left me feeling insignificant and confused. How was I supposed to connect with the humanity of Jesus and see his face in the poor when I was presented with images which were completely the opposite of His message.
As I got older, took a few psychology classes, some church history, it became readily apparent that I was never supposed to connect with the human Jesus. The Jesus which is part and parcel of my interior life. I was supposed to feel insignificant and less than because the authority of the clerical caste depended on me being dependent. My relationship with Jesus was supposed to go through them and be external to me. But that's not what Jesus actually taught. He taught the exact opposite. His kingdom was WITH IN us, not external to us.
The church could very easily have taught the Gospel without the Imperial trappings. It did successfully for it's first three centuries, and it works spectacularly well for Evangelicals now.
Dragging the Church back to the 'drag' will not be successful. It is jarring, it is out of touch with reality, and it's message is not love and transcendence, but ego and control.
Rumor has it the Vatican is planning to move the Kiss of Peace to the beginning of the offertory. Distancing it from communion where it is seen as disruptive to the 'correct' personal preparation for reception of the Host. For some people this won't be a big deal, but it is because it's one more step backwards. One more step where the theology of community is lessened. One more step away from communal nature of the Last Supper for the sake of old notions of personal piety.
It's been announced that Cardinal Arinze's replacement for the Congregation of Divine Worship will be Spain's Cardinal Antonio Canizares. Traditionalists are ecstatic, as they foresee that Cardinal Canizares will enthusiastically continue with the 'reforming' of the Novus Ordo. Cardinal Canizares was also one of the most outspoken Spanish prelates in it's attacks on Spain's socialist government. Benedict certainly seems to be surrounding himself with hard core right wing Bishops and Cardinals. I guess that let's him take on the kindly pastoral face of Rome.
Be that as it may, this has nothing to do with inspired fishermen and everything to do with preferred Imperial tastes. There's very little in all this which is spiritual or inspired by the Holy Spirit. If this is the kind of church Jesus envisioned, if these are the kinds of leaders He wanted, then the Church should just ditch the New Testament or at least those passages in which Jesus defined leaders as servants to the servants. It might not improve the church, but at least it would ditch most of the hypocrisy.