Why do I care?

A comment came in, attached to the Panier de Crabes posting, asking me why I care about the Roman Catholic Church. Surely, one Pope goes out and another comes in, business as usual for another 2,000 years.

Why do I care? I care simply because I care about other people and their spiritual good. I live in a country where those who care about religion are Roman Catholics or Muslims, and the condition of the Church here will not be improved whether the next Pope is a conservative or a liberal, or just a cynical bureaucrat. I care because I am a priest and am often called upon to answer questions asked by people whose faith may depend on the fortunes of ecclesiastical institutions.

I think the day I cease to care would be the day I will have lost faith and the will to go on living. Much of what is wrong with the world today is that people don’t care. Je n’ai rien à foutre has become one of the most common expressions said in French these days.

However, I agree that Vatican speculation is unhealthy and we run up against brick walls wherever we go. We might as well play billiards with a cloth untrue, a twisted cue and elliptical billiard balls! There are limits and times for letting go. That is a point on which I agree.

Perhaps we might care if it is Cardinal Kasper taking the name Boniface X, depending on how you look at it! The railway service might indeed become very unreliable, if you get my meaning…

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3 Responses to Why do I care?

  1. Stephen K says:

    I think, Father, that it is very human to care, enough at any rate to feel something about a thing, and not ignore it. We can care in different ways, but if we do care, then we feel something. It may be a negative or positive feeling, but we’ll be alive and it will show that we have some passion and thought of “the other”. In my day, the saying was “je m’en fiche!” and it was a bit insulting: “I couldn’t care less!” If we stop to think about things enough we will find things to care about: I might not care “for” an imperial dogmatic Church, but I can think of many ordinary Christians that I care “about”, even, with a little effort, many of those who think diametrically opposite to me. And maybe I care enough “about” it to consider what I think it could be etc. How many things are like this? On the other hand, I might not care one iota who wins Wimbledon….until or unless I watched the opening rallies and decided I didn’t like one of the players! “Etre humain, c’est se soucier des choses!”

    • The implication of the comment I answered seemed to be telling me that I have no right to discuss the Roman Catholic Church if I am not a member of it. If I care, I should be doing the necessary to get reconciled, pushed through the sausage machine or whatever! It’s almost like Freudian psychology that I have seen from others who fancy themselves as “blog police” rather than being open to genuine discussion.

      Taking him at face value, I am concerned for the man Joseph Ratzinger who is a brilliant theologian and a sensitive soul. His work influenced many of the professors who taught me in Fribourg. I am also concerned for ordinary folk. When children are told the truth about Santa Claus, when they are old enough, they have not to be brought to disbelieve in those who are really giving the Christmas presents, namely their parents. The analogy is imperfect, but it will have to do.

      The Pope is no different from any of us, or from any other bishop, no more infallible or superhuman – but this rude awakening should not take away belief in the priesthood, the Sacraments and the traditional notion of the Church. The Piuspäpst legacy is dead, and good riddance. So, there are people I care about and things that can find their place in the history books.

      • Michael Frost says:

        Given the impact of the office within Christendom and with the world (esp. believers of non-Christian faiths) and the difference the office holder can make, I think it is pretty safe to say that just as many non-RCs care about who is the Patriarch of Rome as do RCs. It is just that they care in different ways and intensities. Being EO, I appreciate the impact the office and man can have on relations with us. I’m sure Lutherans saw that with JP II and the Joint Declaration on Justification. I also care who is AOC, and for many of the same reasons. So all of us should pray for the leaders of our own communions and others, that God will appoint Godly leaders who advance His will in our fallen world. Just as we pray for wisdom and prudence in our monarchs, presidents, prime ministers, and various political leaders. (May God have mercy on Italy’s election results.)

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