Doesn’t the Catholic Church need some serious laundry?

By Pius Nyondo

That, right now, the Catholic Church is being spanked by its own, is not far-fetched. Thanks, of course, to the Vatican and Pope Francis’ approved novel decree that gives a go ahead for priests to bless same sex-sex couples “as long as the blessing is not connected to the ceremony of a same-sex union.”

Now, the Catholic Church or the Church, mother to about 1.3 billion sons and daughters across the world, has an uphill task to remain intact because of an utterance or decree from its highest office. The office of the Supreme Pontiff—the Pope. Why?

The Pope, who is the Bishop of Rome, has for the first time, to my ken, as far as the history of the Catholic Church is concerned, been disputed by some of his fellow bishops throughout the world.

Here at home, for example, immediately the Holy See let out the controversial decree, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM)—the bishops conference—prohibited “blessings of any kind” for “same-sex unions of any kind.”

The esteemed Malawi brother-bishops of Pope Francis “noted certain erroneous interpretations of this declaration that have generated interest, fears, and worries among Catholics and people who look up to the Catholic Church for moral, spiritual, and doctrinal guidance.”

In other words, and, to a greater extent, the Malawi bishops conference lays bare the notion of confusion—serious confusion for that matter—with regard to the Vatican’s decree. In other words, like in a fistfight, millions of Catholic faithful have been beaten to pulp spiritually, morally or otherwise by the same office they hold with the utmost esteem.

This confusion, I should underscore, is, not at all, a healthy phenomenon for the church. As a Catholic, I feel like it was high time the Church thought of this “confusion” as food for thought, came together and made some serious “right” decisions before the real fire broke out and made everything worse.

The Church must, among others, re-think whether or not it is within the trajectory it must follow as it was in the beginning. For example, it is no longer a hidden fact that, where I come from, the sacrament of marriage is no longer as highly regarded as when I was a little boy. People dump their spouses willy-nilly and still have their new marriages blessed by the clergy without much ado. There are surely myriad anthills that the Catholic Church needs to clear and, I think, declaration “fiducia supplicans” is a blessing in disguise for the Church to engage in some serious talk.

I have for, sometime now, advocated that a third Vatican Council be convoked – until recently. In August this year, Pope Francis said he believed “the time is not ripe.” He told Vatican News that it was “not even necessary at this time, since Vatican II has yet to be fully implemented.”

One can perhaps argue about whether it is the ripe time or not, but then hold themselves back on the simple logic that the second Vatican Council is yet to be fully implemented. Having a third Vatican Council would be like launching a fresh strategic plan when the previous one has not yet been fully implemented.

However, the Church should consider holding serious talks amongst its synods world-over, look back and contemplate seriously about its future. The third Vatican Council, you never know, would help in ironing out a battalion of the Church’s mishaps. The Church’s failure to remain steadfast on a particular decision, as has been the case with “fiducia supplicans”, unfortunately, lets its faithful fly blind and lose track. And this, I am sure, is not Pope Francis’ wish.

Pope John XXIII summoned the Second Vatican Council – held for four years between 1962 to 1965 – because he felt the Church needed “updating” in an increasingly secularized world.

It has been over half a century since the Church’s last update. Honestly, is it not time that the Catholic Church updates again?

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