Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
It is always darkest before the dawn.
50 years on from the birth of a lie known as the 'spirit' of Vatican II, I believe we are nearing the end of the era of dissidence. That said, I think we are about to go through the worst of it.
Many priests, religious, and lay people who entered the life of the Church in an era in which they believed they could radically change the world by radically changing the Church. They falsely believed that by changing the Church to be more like the world, the world would be more like the Church. We still live with the fruits of their early success. The Church experienced mass flight, followed by decades of scandal, followed by more Church flight.
The progressive dissident prescription for Church relevance, even in small doses, has succeeded in producing only irrelevance. But like the true progressives they are, if a little dissident medicine succeeded only in sickening, the obvious progressive solution is to massively increase the dose.
The proliferation of dissident ideas and prudentially bad ideas ran unchecked for 2 decades, but then something unexpected happened. Many people began to see the flaws in making the Church conform to the world and their progress was slowed. In fact, some of the areas of the Church have become even more traditional.
Those progressives who entered the Church to change it forever have been very frustrated over the last decade and a half, particularly during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.
Now that pontificate of Pope Francis has begun, the aging progressives know that this is their moment. They either succeed in pushing their radical reform of the Church and Her doctrine, or they fail forever.
Of course, Pope Francis has given no indication that he will be any less Catholic than his predecessor, but the progressives don't care. Time is almost up for them and Pope Francis is not Pope Benedict, that is enough for them to bring everything they have. I think we have begun to see the opening salvos in the progressive Catholics battle of the Bulge.
Just last week, the Vatican had to formally refute a rumor that the Church was set to revise the prohibition on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving communion. Stories have been making the rounds that many people in his home country expect the Pope to relax the rules requiring priestly celibacy.
But beyond that, the real push is going to be on contraception and women's ordination. These are the holy grails for the dissident movement. They want to fundamentally and permanently alter the relationship between man and his procreative abilities and they want to fundamentally alter the priesthood. Of course, neither of these things are going to happen as previous Popes have made it clear they have no ability to teach other than what the Church teaches in these areas. But that will not stop them from trying.
This past weekend, a 70 year old ex-Carmelite in Kentucky put a smock over her best pantsuit and had herself a pretend ordination.
The progressives of the 70s are now aging and approaching retirement age and they know that younger Catholics, for the most part, do not share their enthusiasms. It is either now or never. The Church will triumph and find Her core again, reuniting the new with the old. Perhaps a clear rejection of this nonsense by Pope Francis will be the first strike of the final nail in the coffin of the progressive movement. Perhaps, but in the meantime I expect to see a lot more of the same.