The reason the question of obedience resonated so loudly for me when I read of the document, The Service of Authority and Obedience, despite my not being in religious life... (or wait, aren't we all in religious life?) ... (you know what I mean,) is that I have been reading about the unholy mess in St Louis.
Yes, what started as mean-old-Bishop-Burke-trying-to -infantalize-people-by-telling-them- what-to do-with-their-own-money has become schism.
The once seemingly reasonable parishioners have now shown their true, non-Catholic colours.
It is not that they rejected one bishop's fiscal authority, it is that they reject the very notion of Church authority, to ordain, to confer the sacraments, to be the union of all the members of Christ's Mystical Body.
I don't buy the idea that they were "driven" to it by some initial intransigence on the part of Burke.
"The Made Me A Criminal" is a great movie and all, yeah, yeah, we know about Robin Hood and his merry men forced to either poach or starve....
This ain't it.
(The merry men didn't go, hey, let's start an organized crime syndicate, down with the government.... screw King Richard when he comes back too!)
ISTM that either one accepts the mere idea of authority or one doesn't.
This has been part of my own.... shudder, but yes, I'm going to use the phrase... faith journey.
I intended to be a priest.
I wanted to be a priest.
I was sure, given the signs of the times, that when I reached the age where it could happen, that I would be a priest.
(Notice the arrogance, it never occurred to me that other than an XY chromosome and various body parts that I could possibly, in anyway be lacking in the Right Stuff.)
And this colored many of my opinions on Church matters.
But at some point I realized that people way smarter, way holier and way wiser than I, who had thought about it way longer, disagreed. People, and collectives of people who were right about everything else disagreed with me.
And the people who agreed? they were wrong about everything else, and getting wronger and constantly finding new ways in which to be wrong.
So even though I still didn't "get" it, hell, I still don't entirely get it, with whom did I absolutely need to align myself?
I absolutely HAD to assent.
And having assented, as an act of will, (as opposed to, to ride my current hobby horse, thinking, yeah, that feels right to me...,) lo, and behold! She turns out to be right. (I may even some day feel that women cannot be ordained, but it doesn't really matter to me whether I do or do not.)
So, back to the tragedy in St Louis, with whom do the St Stan's Six align themselves? Well, as the headline has it, the fringe.
"The feisty, stubborn members of the Polish church... [are] set to follow a renegade priest into the fringes of the church.... the church's pastor, the Rev. Marek Bozek, ...who had been suspended by his own bishop in the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau....[may] soon be laicized, or stripped of his priesthood.
If Bozek is laicized, he said he will ask a different bishop to oversee St. Stanislaus, and the board's chairman says the congregation will support him.
One option is worshipping under the authority of an excommunicated Zambian archbishop who is married to a Korean acupuncturist, and whose organization — funded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon...Last fall [Bozek] participated in an ordination ceremony for two women at a synagogue. The women became priests of an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests."
Either the Church is the Church or She isn't.
Either the Church is the Church or there is no Church.
Either the Church has the authority given Her by God, and has been preserved from error according to His promise, or all Christians can and should just go their merry way.
We should all be protestants. And we should each be his own magisterium.
And the idea of a Protestant authority is an oxymoron.
I wonder if the concept of obedience comes easier to me because I was a musician and an actor.
Some things simply do not "work" without a leader.
And there is no point in working for a leader whose vision you don't respect, or can't agree with.
Surely each of us who performs has found himself a member of an ensemble with a protestant violin or a cast with protestant character man....
We wont' even get into the trickle down protestantism of the child who ignores his parent/parishioner who ignores his priest who ignores his bishop who ignores his pope.
(Mostly because I am in recovery from dealing with the chronologically impaired, height challenged, and do, really, really do, intend to put my thoughts down on Working With Children In Theatre.)