[I] initially at least, the largest grouping of Catholics is likely to consist of those who remain unconvinced that any substantial reform is necessary; nothing more than a clearance of maverick clerical and religious abusers and dealing with other incidental occurrences of that regrettable ilk.Seriously? That's meant to be the writing of a theology professor... one who, I understand, still claims to be Catholic?
The welcome and willing leader of this grouping is the current pope, a mere mortal man convinced of his supreme infallible power to dictate what we, all “children of our holy father”, are to believe and practise in life liturgical and moral.
And he goes on to say:
And there will always be a majority who prefer a judgmental God for whom punishment is the primary instrument of love (as the Archbishop of Dublin would put it) to the father of the prophet Jesus. Particularly as this majority sees itself as so especially God’s people, and he their special God, that they have privileged access to the sacramental means for escaping punishment both here and hereafter.What can one say about about such a crude representation of the doctrine of the atonement? And does he really think that such an idea is held by a majority of practising Catholics?
It seems to me that Professor Mackey has moved from a hatred of the clergy to a contempt for ordinary Catholics.
So, what are Professor Mackey's recommendations for those who want to follow Christ? He concludes on an unlikely note:
There are yet other options for disenfranchised Catholics: decamping to other religions or to none at all; and many take this option.One has to wonder what a 'liberal-minded' critic of the Church and an advocate of women priests is up to when he includes conversion to Islam as a favourable option for those seeking a certain sort of reform within the Church.
It is a reasonable option, particularly in the case of Christianity’s two sibling religions, Judaism and Islam.
For Jesus was a prophet in and for Judaism and Muhammad received him as a prophet on a par with himself; and it can be seen and shown that both of these sibling religions retain some features more faithful to the faith of Jesus than are their current Roman Catholic counterparts.
The same can be true in varying degrees for other world religions, and primal religions, and for the personal spiritualities of people disenchanted with organised religion as such. For God has left no one ever without evidence of the utterly gracious and eternal presence; as the Masai woman introduced in earlier instalments quite amply illustrates.