Denne litt dramatiske overskrifta finner vi i siste nummer av First Things, som gjengir Ross Douthats (som skriver i New York Times) Erasmus Lecture, som han holdt i New York tidligere i høst.
Det er et ganske langt foredrag, og jeg tar bare med det jeg syntes var den mest interessante/klargjørende delen:
… Two things have been genuinely revelatory about the Francis era, however. The first is how weak the Catholic center remains, how quickly consensus falls apart, and how much space actually separates the center-left and center-right within the Church. Until recently I thought of myself as part of that center-right, and from that vantage point, it seemed like there was a great deal of room for Pope Francis to tack center-leftward without opening up major doctrinal debates—tackling divorce and remarriage by streamlining the annulment process and making it more available in poorer countries, stressing the social gospel a little more and the culture war a little less, appointing women to run Vatican dicasteries, even reopening debates over female deacons and married priests. On some of these fronts conservatives would have doubted, questioned, or opposed, but the debates wouldn’t have led so quickly to fears of heresy and schism.
But instead, as Francis has pushed into more divisive territory, what I had thought of as the Catholic center-left has not only welcomed that push but written and spoken in ways that suggest they want to push further still—toward understandings of the sacraments, ecclesiology, and moral theology that seem less center-left than simply “left,” the purest vintage of the year of our Lord 1968 or 1975. Which perhaps reveals that I’ve actually been further “right” all along, but either way suggests a hollowness at the Catholic center, a striking lack of common ground.
Then it’s also been revelatory how strong a liberal constituency still remains within the priesthood and the episcopate, the places where one would have thought thirty years of papal conservatism would have left their strongest impact. Which, to be clear, they did: Seminaries really have changed dramatically since the ’70s, there really is a John Paul II and Benedict generation of younger priests, and the hierarchy is markedly more conservative than it was in the later years of Paul VI. Moreover, I do not think that most of the cardinals voting for Jorge Bergoglio thought that they were voting to reopen the Communion-and-remarriage debate, let alone that their votes were any kind of deliberate rejection of the magisterium of the previous two popes.
But the fact remains that a college theoretically “stacked” by John Paul II and Benedict XVI elected as pope a candidate who had been championed, across two conclaves, by the most liberal cardinals in the Church. The fact remains that all of the bishops who have agitated for changing the Church’s doctrine—or, as they claim, the Church’s discipline—on marriage and the sacraments were appointed by the last two popes. And the fact remains that while the majority of bishops do seem loyal in principle to the magisterium of John Paul II, there has been no shortage of episcopal enthusiasm for an essentially Hegelian understanding of the development of doctrine. …