I run a philosophy group (under the auspices of the University of the Third Age) which meets fortnightly. The majority of its 10 members are best described as agnostic. Last year I posed for them this question: If you were God, in what way would you have chosen to create the world? The discussion, for an hour and a half, was vigorous – and the conclusion was interesting. They decided that there was really nothing they would want to do differently.
What happened most frequently in the discussion was that someone would put forward a candidate for change – for example, not permitting natural disasters – and someone else would respond by pointing out all the disadvantages which would result from this. Gradually the group began to discover that all human phenomena were interlocked – and every change brought with it unintended consequences.
I propose that this week we should try a similar exercise. If we were in a position to alter some aspect of the Church what would we choose? I am assuming here, from our past conversations, that many of us believe that the present Church is far from doing as well as it might. And certainly, in Western societies, the figures show long term declines under many important headings.
For any suggestion to be helpful it needs to be concrete and practical. Airy fairy ideas don’t help. I can’t give an exhaustive list of topics but it could touch on organisation, provision of priests, liturgy, a new, internal reformation, better leadership, moral teaching, doctrinal teaching, women, good public relations, promotion of meditation, internal communication, ecclesiastical authority, catechetics, promotion of Scripture, formation of conscience, Vatican III… and so on.
If we are able to put together a good list, it might be possible to use it as a basis for a column published in the Catholic Herald. I think that a college of cardinals consisting only of contributors to Secondsightblog would be an excellent thing. Many of us would be too long in the tooth to be elected pope but I have in mind one or two candidates who would be splendid – and that could of course include the first female pope.