Which Church will come? – WeekNews

I try to answer the question coming from above and below: what will the Church of tomorrow be like, even if a prediction is very difficult and the answer can only be probable and partial.

Everyone can think about it freely and we could discuss it. The Church of tomorrow I think so.

Less sacramental: see the suspension of the traditional festive mass with its various consequences and the funeral masses in time of Covid, the disappearance of the queues at the confessionals, etc. And yet we have gone on all the same, with faith and with other forms and initiatives. Let’s look at the churches in the missions: only one mass every now and then!

Let us also think of the primitive apostolic churches: in the Gospels and in Saint Paul, how much is spoken of the sacraments? Little, very little. Perhaps a certain emphatic turning point occurred with Saint Ambrose and then with other Fathers of the Church, to the detriment of listening to the Word and charity? It’s possible.

The re-evaluation of the liturgy of the Word in the holy mass is good: Pope Benedict considers the reading of the Bible an almost sacrament, especially during the holy mass, where it also becomes an important catechesis for all. On the other hand, a case to be thoroughly rethought is initiation into the sacraments: what has it become despite all the attempts at reform? What are certain baptisms, confirmations, first communions?

As regards the Holy Mass, the aspect of living memorial of a great love, than that of sacrifice offered to the Father: Who added the term “sacrifice” to the words of the consecration? Word which, when applied to Jesus, is very rare throughout the NT; here the “for you, to you” predominates (ie, first of all, to “little angels” like Judas, Peter and all 12 in search of the first places!). Sacrifice yes, but above all as an offering of the Father and of Jesus to the sinful world!

Less moralistic (too much space for sexual morality!), more oriented and centered on the fundamental evangelical-paschal kerygma-proclamation and its consequences for earthly and eternal human life, on sin and salvation, on charity as the center and meaning of the other virtues.

Less devotional, even less Marian (perhaps). A new evangelization, therefore, also favored by the new means of social communication, new tools offered to us by Providence, science and technology.

Less clerical: apart from the theological-ecclesial reasons (and, unfortunately, also the recent scandals), we priests will be fewer and fewer, therefore we will need more laity and women – and married couples – well disposed and trained for collaboration and co-responsibility.

I could say something about women in ecclesial ministries … Women are already priests for baptism, not pastors-presbyters-episcopes-presidents, deacons; Doesn’t a woman have charisms and gifts to become one? Let us think of the role that abbesses played in history. Today we have women at the helm of companies and states and, sometimes, even Christian communities …

The same goes for any try sources to the presbyteral ministry. How long will we be able to leave some churches without the Eucharist for lack of celibate priests?

Less miraculous and more willing to the surprises of the mysterious Providence, more in search of “Grace than graces”, also because, in the fight against Covid, science and the vaccine have proved more effective than many of our marathons of rosaries and various prayers ( although they are also valid, for heaven’s sake!). In prayer we could ask more insistently for the miraculous gift of assistance to the sick (as, in fact, it happened).

Less politicized, more “religious” (prayer!) and more “servant” for love of her Lord and of man; freer from organizational and administrative commitments, which weigh especially on parish priests.

Less Catholic and more by and with the people, more ecumenical and missionary than folded in on itself. An even more global Church in an already very globalized world (also due to the pandemic).

Less tied to laws, precepts and norms of all kinds and more open to the voice of consciences and to the wind of the Spirit (attentive to the development of the Catholic and non-Catholic Pentecostal Churches), less centralized and more synodal (truly synodal, and not only in certain aspects and moments; here too Pope Francis deserves some criticism: at times it seems to act more on personal initiative than in a synodal way).

Less worried than 0.8 per thousand (which, for now, suits us), more open to his poor and to human society.

All in all, I would like a church on the streets of the gospel of joy and other writings of Pope Francis, on which we are walking in an “already and not yet”, in search of new balances between goods and aspects of life (cf. the excellent article in the Jesuit magazine Catholic Civilization n. 4101 – “Contemporary challenges of global Catholicism” by Thomas P. Rausch – and the articles by Gabriele Ferrari and Vinicio Albanesi on WeekNews).

It would be nice to discuss it together, as I have already done with some confreres. To resent us, even if only in writing.

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