Monday, April 04, 2005

How Big Is Your "Big Tent" Policy?

The obvious middle school joke aside, how big is it actually? I often wonder about organizations, social, political, religious, and otherwise, and at what point people that disagree with them are seen as functionally no longer part of the group because their beliefs differ from the "traditional views" of the group. Eventually, if a certain "reform" (in the eyes of the beholder of course), gains enough steam, then it is adopted, and the organization continues with a new rule or value. I wonder what Catholics specifically think of this new poll of Catholics. Yes, of course polls can be flawed, but they can certainly give some idea of the membership. My guess is that the traditional Catholics will read that and say that those that are for these reforms are not really Catholics, or not "good" Catholics, and that doctrine doesn't change just because of public opinion. Then those that are *for* the reforms may realize they are in the majority and force the issue or the organization will lose members, as the Catholic Church has been for years in the West. All organizations change with the times to an extent, even those that claim to be unchanging, and while there will always be those that don't want change, a generation later, most in the same group would not dream of going backward. For example the reforms of Vatican II, desegregation in a variety of institutions, greater role for women in the military (more recent, so still some opposition), and so on. I find it interesting how that works. Time rolls on, and views change. Eventually, Catholics may decide to make official in public doctrine what most already believe or practice in private. A new interpretation could be adopted, and the church will continue, perhaps much stronger for the experience. I wonder if Catholicism is headed for some change, beyond just a new Pope? Time will tell.

No comments: