How often have we heard talk about the urgent need for the Church to begin a process of radical reform in order to stem the exodus of people, especially young people, from the Church? Those who utter these warnings claim that radical change is the only way we can possibly save the Church. The Church, they claim, must keep up with a rapidly changing modern world.
Ask for examples of what it is that the Church needs to reform and the usual subjects, such as clerical celibacy, contraceptives, marriage and divorce, are almost always mentioned. Change these teachings to conform with the ideas of the modern world, they claim, and we will see young people returning to the Church, as well as a marked increase in priestly vocations.
The interesting thing about these ‘advisers’ is that they almost always seem to be middle aged or older. It is not very often that I hear young people expressing this desperate need for a radical reform of the Church.
Yesterday I was sent an invite to join this page on Facebook – Close the Tablet - Tabula Delenda Est! You can take a look at the page for yourself to see what it is about.
What interested me most about the Facebook link was the content of a video clip on the Facebook page. It features an interview by Jon Snow from Channel 4 News of two lay Catholics following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
What I found most noteworthy in the interview was the obvious significant difference in attitude between these two lay Catholics.
The editor of the Tablet is, quite frankly, incredibly cynical throughout the interview. I couldn’t help but get the sense that she really seems quite bitter and twisted. If she could have her way, which thankfully she will not, I get the distinct impression that she would chuck just about everything out of the Catholic Church and start again.
Unlike Catherine Pepinster, the young Paschal Uche however reveals a profound love for the Church. He displays complete belief and faith in the Church. Consider his response to the question from Jon Snow about the Church’s teaching on contraception. Contrary to what Jon Snow is obviously expecting to hear from a young man, Paschal Uche responds: “We aren’t looking for a Pope who will change the Church’s teaching, what we desire is a Pope who is faithful to the teaching of the Church because we believe that is how God loves us.”
It is extremely fortunate that Paschal Uche was invited to the interview. Can you imagine the picture the editor of The Tablet would have painted of the Church if she had been interviewed alone? Yet there she is, editor of a Catholic publication and permitted to actually sell her cynical ideas to Catholics right in the very pews of their churches.
I think that it is indeed high time that the Church radically reforms. What it must reform is who may be the editor of a Catholic newspaper or publication. What it must also reform, without hesitation, is the ability to sell these newspapers and publications inside of our churches.
If editors like Catherine Pepinster are so disillusioned with the Church and believe that they know better than the Church hierarchy what is best for the Church, let her begin by showing it through her ability to sell her publication out there in the big wide world. Let her keep it afloat without the infrastructure provided by the ‘dismally inadequate Church hierarchy’ that she, and other Catholic editors like her, enjoys criticising.