The Nominal Catholic Reporter (Catholic in name only) continues its rush to irrelevance in this weeks edition. Their target audience must be a small cadre of geriatric dissidents with “groovy” notions of what relevance means.
This week, NCR gushes over those dissident kooks in Holland who decided “Priests? We don’t need no stinkin’ Priests!” by deciding that any man, woman, or active homosexual can consecrate the Eucharist. Yet even NCR cannot help vut observe a little truth now and then although the irony is likely lost on them.
There is a saying among Dutch Catholics these days that the situation of the church in the Netherlands is “hopeless but not serious.” This Zen-like assessment reflects dual realities of the Dutch church: It is the place where some of the most dramatic innovations in Catholic practice in the past half-century have occurred simultaneously with one of the most precipitous drops in church membership in the Western world.
Hmmm. Crazy innovations and dramatic drops is Church membership. Go figure. NCR not only leads with the article on the “innovative” Dutch but editorializes on the subject as well.
Ah, those postmodern Dutch, so far ahead of us, with their eclectic and chaotic social liberalism, their blunt talk, bold experiments, utopian impatience with rules and tradition. What a refreshing notion they have: that because the Eucharist is the essence of Christian community, that community therefore has a right to it. And if the hierarchy fails to bestow that right from above, local communities can claim it from below: “Where two or three gather in my name,” share scripture, break bread, pass the cup, there is Real Presence, holy Communion, the freedom of the Holy Spirit to give charisms with or without official permission.
The post modern Dutch with no church attendance. Utopia in the mind of NCR. But wait, there is more! Not satisfied with gushing over modern day crazies, they dig up one of their heroes from the hey-day. Yes, none other than Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx. Yes, apparently he is still alive and NCR dug him up for a trip down memory lane. Of course, to tie the old in with the new, Schillebeeckx gives his imprimatur to the postmodern Dutch.
In “Church and Ministry,” the newly released document, the Dominicans put forward such “new possibilities” as this: “Men and women can be chosen to preside at the Eucharist by the church community; that is, ‘from below,’ and can then ask a local bishop to ordain these people ‘from above.’ ”
If, however, “a bishop should refuse a confirmation or ordination” of such persons “on the basis of arguments not involving the essence of the Eucharist, such as a requirement that deacons or priests be celibate, parishes may move forward without the bishops’ participation, remaining confident “that they are able to celebrate a real and genuine Eucharist when they are together in prayer and share bread and wine.”