PRLog - May 11, 2014 - MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- ALL ARE WELCOME
Theology of Fear
John XXIII made familiar the Italian word, aggiornamento - a bringing up to date. The word has become synonymous with reading the signs of the times. One can only imagine if he was pope as long as John Paul II where aggiornamento would have taken the Roman Church.
Since Vatican II there have been attempts to update the liturgy but none to update the theology of the Roman Church. There is possibly a greater attrition of members because of a theology which increasingly educated people reject. According to the Pew Forum on Religion, one out of every three adult Americans raised Catholic left the church. The reasons are varied. For thinking, questioning adults, the current theology is suspect.
Emmett Coyne, 46 years a Catholic priest, revisits the theology to which he was exposed and expected to reinforce and finds it filled with fear: devils, mortal sins, an eternal hell replete with torture, blind obedience to a hierarchy which does little to lift burdens but seeks to control members not liberate them, etc. In the Kingdom teaching of Jesus, he sought to exorcise fear but the Roman Church reinforces it through its current theology.
Fr. Coyne contends a rediscovery of a theology based on the Kingdom teaching, centered in the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, and the praxis of love, and would be new wine for humanity. He believes if the Roman Church focuses on these healthier seeds in its tradition, it will produce new growth, a more abundant future.
He provokes critical questions: Can the Roman Catholic Church convert itself to seek first the Kingdom of God? To become unconditionally inclusive, truly catholic? To risk institutional survival? To confront the status quo? Fight for justice? Speak truth to power? Advocate for the “preferential option for the poor”? To remain vulnerable like Jesus?