This article first appeared in the Catholic Herald and can be found online here.
Anybody following coverage of the events of the last month or so could be forgiven for having a rather pessimistic view of the current state of the Church. With a tone of infallibility that would be denied the successor of Peter, certain elements have given the impression that the Church is failing, rotten to the very core. Not only, we are told, is the Church rife with administrative and financial problems, but the very message we purport to promote is at best ineffectual, and at worst damaging, even dangerous.
The medicine prescribed for this terminal decline is, apparently, reform: by which is meant, bringing the Church into line with the liberal secular consensus found in contemporary politics and society. Failure to do so, it seems, will mean that the Church ceases to be a vehicle of moral authority and a source of good in the world.
I am not naïve about the situation we find ourselves in, but this is not the answer. What such calls for reform fail to recognise is that what the Church presents is not simply one path among many – a moral option for those who like that kind of thing – but, rather, the revelation of the truth of the person of Jesus Christ. Thus, the sins of those proclaiming that truth, and the institutional failures which they perform, do not affect the Church’s objective moral authority, merely her credibility. That, I would suggest, is something that we can and must change.