It's time to be reconciled
Great harm has been done by identifying the permanent nature of the Church with the cultural clothing she has acquired in the course of the centuries. When Latin replaced Greek as the cultural language of the Roman world it came to be used in the Church for the same reason that the vernacular has now conic to be used the Church. has the mission to preach the word to all peoples.
Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10, 14), but an enlightened faith also grows by hearing, by receiving the bread of the word as well as by the breaking and distributing of the Body of Christ. Hence the use of the vernacular in the liturgy.
Catholic theology and philosophy, and even Catholic morality, were deeply engaged in classical culture. (Luther, when he was an Augustinian friar, taught Aristotle's Ethics).
Now there has been a breaking down of classical culture and its replacement by a scientific and technological environment, and the way of thinking of classical culture
means little or nothing to those who are brought up in the technological age.
But this does not mean the Gospel will mean nothing to them it is still the word of eternal life and so the Church has to renew herself by returning to her source in the Gospel and shedding that part of her clothing which was woven by the spirit of Greece and Rome rather than by the Holy Spirit.
Sonic mistakenly see the Church's breaking off from her long engagement with the classical world as a selfbetrayal. Others arc opportunists and want to see her quickly married to some political' or social or liturgical philosophy of the present moment.
Bernard Lonergan (in "Collection") says: "There is hound to be formed a solid right that is determined to live in a world that no longer exists. '['here is hound to be formed a scattered left, captivated by now this, now that new possibility."
However, the Church is married to Christ, not to some ideology which claims to derive from his teaching. She must remain, like her Master, a sign of contradiction to those who want to appropriate her treasures for the sake of their programme of world advancement or their programme of cultural retrenchment against the crisis of the waves.
We must hope that these divisions will not he lasting, but that many of the right and the left will eventually he reconciled to joining the Pilgrim Church as she goes on her journey through the wilderness, having chosen the wandering Spiritdirected life of Abraham rather than the settled wealthy existence of Lot.
The Church, like Abraham, is justified by her faith, not by her unbroken ranks of Roman shields and her impeccable logic.
Fr. Michael Sellers St. Anthony's, Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire.