Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Church of Scoundrels and Saints

I took the following quotation direct from Outside the Asylum by Tony Layne.
"To be connected with the church is to be associated with scoundrels, warmongers, fakes, child-molesters, murderers, adulterers and hypocrites of every description.

"It also, at the same time, identifies you with saints and the finest persons of heroic soul of every time, country, race, and gender.

"To be a member of the church is to carry the mantle of both the worst sin and the finest heroism of soul because the church always looks exactly as it looked at the original crucifixion, God hung among thieves."

-- Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I., The Holy Longing
Outside the asylum makes a good point about Vatican management systems:

    First, the sheer size of the Church—around one billion people around the globe, in 2,795 dioceses as of 2008—makes it difficult for the Pope or any cardinal prefect to know what’s going on in any given see.
·         Second, the Vatican has barely 1,500 people in its direct employ to operate the ministries and functions it does have … and it perpetually operates close to or in the red. An executive structure along the lines of the US government would require at least three-fifths of the population of Rome (2.7 million people in 2009) to run it. While John XXIII, when asked how many people worked at the Vatican, supposedly joked, “Oh, about half,” the truth is that they’re horribly understaffed for those operations they do directly oversee, and are in no financial condition to expand their operations.
·         Third, the relative freedom local ordinaries enjoy to act in local matters means that they have no real need to report everything that goes on within their bailiwicks. Indeed, local prelates have resented and occasionally resisted the Vatican’s few attempts to micromanage specific crises, complaining—not without either justice or hypocrisy—that “those guys in Rome don’t really know the situation here”.

This last point—the relative paucity of communication between the Vatican and the local chanceries—contributes significantly to the common perception, even among Catholics, that the Church hierarchy operates in secrecy. Rather, it stumbles along blindly, as a man suffering from neuropathy, whose limbs send mixed and partial messages to his brain, while he strains under an oversized and overstuffed burden.

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