Monday, June 23, 2003

Okay, here's the point I was trying to make in the post below, in my typical I gotta write fast until naptime becomes In Between Naps... fashion:

In the post-V2 church, our sense of real connectedness with Jesus (as opposed to each other or ourselves or a stage of social development) through sacrament and the wealth of traditional prayer has diminished, and the importance of "ministry" in lay spiritual life has increased. Which has, it seems, in the US at least, resulted in a scene in which people are regularly left with the impression that the apex of spirituality is being involved in the institutional church.

Which is, if you think about, just another way of pronouncing the old clericalist Baltimore Catechism line, in which a picture of a married couple was captioned, "This is good" and a picture of a religious or priest was captioned, "This is better."

And someone in a comment box commented that well, you know, you'll always have the institution.

Of course you will. The question is, what is the institution for?

Later: I agree with the commentor who asserts that in some ways, the role of the laity has certainly not been expanded the way it was intended by the Council and fleshed out since. The example that immediately springs to mind is a parish financial council, which every parish is supposed to have, and many, many don't. It's that kind of institution, providing checks and balances to the ordained in matters of administration, and present in various forms throughout church history (lay participation in election and selection of bishops; lay trustees of parishes, and so on) that is largely missing from the American scene.