Homiletic & Pastoral Review typically has an editorial on the back page written by the long-time conservative editor, Kenneth Baker, S.J. The August/September 2006 issue just arrived with an editorial entitled "A Church in Transition." Fr. Baker summarizes Fr. Claude Barthe's book, Beyond Vatican II: The Church at a New Crossroads:
- The Church is seriously wounded (a long list of indicators)
- The Church is self-paralyzed and does nothing to heal herself
- The Church has replaced a hierarchical government with a democracy--thus becoming a federation of sovereign states, with a weak central government
- The Church is now ungovernable and everyone does what he pleases.
Is Barthe correct to claim that there are encouraging signs on the horizon? Yes, I believe the Church under Benedict XVI will:
- 'disengage' from Vatican II (but it will take a few more years);
- generate new priests who will attempt to restore the Church;
- begin the restoration and renewal of the Church with a small set of reforms.
The damage that has been done to the Church and her people is so bad that no man, even a Saint, can restore the Church to health within my remaining lifetime--a maximum of 30 years. Why do I believe this? Because Jesus' parables use nature to teach us truths, and nature is a good illustrator of spiritual dimensions. For example, read Luke 13:6-7 with the parable of the fig tree that did not bear. Also see Kipling's poem, God of the Copybook Headings, about the unforgiveness of nature. God can forgive sins, but nature does not.