Vatican Culture & The Spirit Blowing

 |  NCR Today

John Allen is to Vatican reporting what the Supreme Court is to the Constitution: The final arbiter. His reporting on the flood on new appointments at the Vatican hits the nail(s) on the head. Benedict is choosing theologians over diplomats, and the theologians he is turning to are those associated with the Communio school.

I will only add one comment. The Communio school is not simply an Ivory tower phenomenon. Its insights are at the heart of at least one of the new ecclesial movements, Communion & Liberation, in which Pope Benedict XVI has placed great hope for the future of the Church. These new ecclesial movements – Focolare, Sant’ Egidio and the Neo-Catechumenal Way are three of the other most prominent groups – are new wine in the life of the Church. Pope Benedict, who must confront daily the fallout from leaving the control of the Church to its diplomatic corps, is more aware than most for the need of new wine and new wineskins.

Managerial competence, of course, is not taught in theology departments, so Benedict must devise a way to make sure these theologians can handle the jobs to which they are assigned. But, it is not like the “competent managers” at the Stato have done such a great job! And, besides, if we wish the Church to be led by the Spirit, it is wise to seek out those places where the Spirit is blowing. Benedict has seen first hand the vibrancy of the new ecclesial movements and is trying to bring that vibrancy to the Curia, which is about as entrenched a bureaucratic culture as one can imagine. He and Cardinal Ouellet will need the wind of the Spirit at their backs if they are to bring renewal to the part of the Church that needs it most: the Vatican Curia.

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July 14-27, 2017