The past couple of days I've been pondering Benedict's rebuke of Cardinal Schonborn. I've read some comments that think that because the good Cardinal wasn't rebuked for his musings on celibacy and gay relationships that this could be a signal that the Vatican might be considering some re evaluation of these kinds of doctrine. I don't buy it. These musings were ignored for the same reason my parents used to ignore the content of what we children said if in their opinion we demonstrated bad attitude. Most of the time it didn't matter if our observations were essentially correct. If stating those observations threatened the family status quo, especially the decision making hierarchy, we heard about our insubordination, not the correctness of what we were insubordinate about.
I don't know about other families, but in mine, if you were perceived to be insubordinate in presenting your ideas it was a sure bet your idea would never be acknowledged much less implemented. In my family, my parents were quite capable of slicing off the nose to protect the face. In my own family case, it wasn't just a matter of running a family it was a matter of running a family ranch. That gave us plenty of opportunity to be insubordinate in suggesting our ideas and plenty of opportunity to be summarily sentenced to stacking bales or some other equally odious task. Not surprising then I have a well developed back and shoulders.
I keep looking at the issues that are really causing angst within the Western Church and am struck with how many of them are the identical issues which cause angst in parents of teen age and younger adult children. Sex, relationships, money, transparency, and obedience. The trouble is a lot of Western Catholics have matured beyond young adulthood and yet the teaching authority of the Church is still attempting to use the same kinds of controlling techniques parents who haven't adjusted to the idea their children are growing up use to keep those children in line. Techniques which serve to underscore parental control and family hierarchy while freezing children in pre pubescent obedience. Bishops are taking to denying the Eucharist the way some parents threaten keys to the car.
Benedict's New Evangelization will fail miserably if it starts from the premise that the loss of influence for the Church is a product of secularization. This is tantamount to a parent blaming peer pressure or high school culture for the fact their children are just growing up. There's no question some teen agers get lost in the process of maturing, but most teen agers don't get lost, and generally survive the process as better more mature thoughtful people. Good parents learn to accept and adjust to maturing children. They even learn to relish the challenges posed by those children because there is also much growth to be found for parents in this process. In fact one of the most important lessons parents can show adult children is that growth and maturation is a continual process. It never has to end. It's what keeps us young at heart.
Holy Mother Church is walking a path similar to the over controlling mother. In the end the only children left to see to her needs will be her dysfuntional immature bachelor sons and her carbon copy passive agressive daughters.