A Joyous Pope

Paul Baumann at Commonweal:

Why did I want a Californian? Well, that was not exactly what I wrote, although I appreciated the headline writer’s teasing provocation. What I did write was that the next pope should be “a bit of a Californian.” I opened the piece by quoting the novelist Walker Percy’s cantankerous assertion that Catholics had to choose between “either Rome or California.” In Percy’s mind, California stood for everything alienating, dehumanizing, and spiritually moribund in modern life, while Roman Catholicism offered the true, if demanding, path to human flourishing. I thought that was a false choice. The Church would have to come to terms with everything California represented; retreating from the modern world was not an option. “Rome is no refuge; it never has been, and as recent scandals remind us, never could be,” I wrote. “Yet Rome has much missionary work to do—in California and elsewhere. That work will require a change in tone and a refusal to condemn what it cannot yet understand.” In conclusion, I quoted the philosopher Charles Taylor. Rome proposes “too many answers choking off questions and too little sense of the enigmas that accompany a life of faith; these are what stop a conversation from ever starting between our Church and much of our world.”

more here.