Beware of False Prophets…
Retired U.S. bishop, 94, calls for Third Vatican Council!
While media focus this afternoon will be on Pope Francis’ arrival from Cuba into Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where he will be met for his first United States visit by President Barack Obama, a retired California bishop’s op-ed contribution in the New York Times looks to the Church’s reform, and calls for a Third Vatican Council.
Bishop Emeritus Francis A. Quinn of Sacramento is 94 and his past ministry would naturally align him with Francis’ focus’ on the marginalized.
Quinn calls his essay, “How the Pope Might Renew the Church,” a “peaceful contribution to the controversies that convulse the church today.”
He acknowledges that the Church’s “basic doctrines will not change,” he notes conflict among American Catholics on three issues: priestly celibacy, the denial of ordination to women and the denial of the Eucharist to divorced Catholics who remarry without having their first marriage annulled.
There are already married priests in the Catholic Church, married men who were ordained in other Christian faiths and converted to Catholicism. Allowing the ordination of married men, Quinn notes, would help with the Church’s vocation crisis, as well as enrich the ministry itself.
Similarly, as others in the Church have argued, allowing women to be ordained priests would perhaps allow for the Gospel to be better understood in contemporary society.
Women, Quinn notes, “have shown great qualities of leadership.”
“Might the teaching church one day,” Quinn asks, “taking account of changing circumstances, be inspired by the Holy Spirit to study and reinterpret this biblical tradition?”
Similarly, he questions the denial of the Eucharist to Catholics who remarry without an annulment and raises Confession as a venue “to assist that person to develop a clear conscience with God and resume receiving the Eucharist.”
His call for a Vatican Council III is around the idea of a community to reverse the flow of the faithful out of the church” and help “stimulate a new conversation about God.”
Quinn, who holds a doctorate in education, adds that “faith and science are not in conflict.”
Interestingly, Francis recently spoke of the study of science as a way to help all religions between under creation. The synod of bishops in October is also expected to take up at least one of Quinn’s issues – the Eucharist for divorced Catholics remarried without an annulment – a divisive issue at the core of Catholicism for some bishops.
Francis’ visit to the United States is about evangelism for a more moral world for everyone, particularly those at the bottom of society. He will return to Rome to continue the direction for a Church more rooted in Christianity’s core values.
As Quinn, author of “Behind Closed Doors: Conflicts in Today’s Church,” says at the end of his essay, the “main challenge facing the church today is not simply to resolve questions like celibacy, but to relearn how to communicate a deeper, more intelligent, more relevant religion that leads to a life of acceptance and love.”