Persisting crises that lead to empty church pews has the Catholic weekly magazine, America, proposing more input by the laity for a fresh approach for reform in the U.S. Church today.
Criticizing a culture of clericalism, the article quotes the late Pope John Paul II who lifted a comment from St. Paulinus of Nola for "Novo Millennio Ineunte:"
"Let us listen to what all the faithful say, because in every one of them the Spirit of God breathes" (No. 45).
Calling for change in church structure, America suggests more women and married men participate in governance.
One proposal suggested is to change canon law to admit laypeople to the College of Cardinals.
Doing this would create the face of the church as described in the documents of the Second Vatican Council.
Also proposed is creation of a new body of an international council of laypersons to share functions with the College of Cardinals. Each body would have 100 members.
Vatican offices would be led by some laity while others would report to Rome for regular consultation. Both would administer the Vatican offices, advise the pope and select his successor.
A path of renewal must be forged afresh to invigorate a fledgling church.''
There is merit in this modest proposal that could have been imagined and implemented with
the Second Vatican Council.
Waiting for further crumbling with an all-male establishment only welcomes a deeper divide.