I am increasingly convinced that the Church, of course, is not of the world, but lives “in” the world; and therefore that its life is affected, more than is usually admitted, by the more general processes of contemporary society (as, in a particular case, I have written about the patriotism of Italian priests). In short, it is necessary to look at these more general processes within which ecclesiastical events are situated.
So: what happened in the world, in Western society “in primis” but not only, after 1945? What influenced this context undergoing very rapid change in the culture widespread in the hierarchies, in the social base of the parishes, in the emptying of the seminaries, in the change of sexual morality, in relationships between people, in the crisis of the principle of authority, in the end of transcendence?
On these aspects historical culture (but not only) has had something to say: just take an overarching book such as “The Age of Extremes” by Eric Hobsbawm and read its pages on “The Golden Age” and its social and cultural effects to become aware of this. It is no coincidence that the English historian underlines, without any complacency, indeed with some concern - he is a Marxist and a Communist! - that the first “victims” of this immense transformation were the family institution and the Churches, not only the Catholic.
The transition - at the level of widespread mentality and common feeling, as well as in high culture - from a prevailing holistic-hierarchical conception of the world to an individualistic-egalitarian conception - a passage that had a prologue in 1945-1960 and a full implementation later - inevitably posed enormous problems for the Catholic Church, which from the apostle Paul to “Mystici Corporis” based its ecclesiology on that previous vision. In short, as Seneca said, “ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt,” fate leads those who want to be guided and drags along those who do not, even the Church!
For this reason, the reversal of the trend will not be able to take place only within the Church (and besides, with what resources, if priests now reason in the way De Marco describes so well?), but through a global paradigm shift, as occurred after 1945 and at other times in history.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Pietro De Marco on the Social Changes within the Patriarchate of Rome
Sandro Magister: On Top of Coronavirus, This Is a Turning Point in History. That Is Dragging the Church Along With It