Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Conservative-Progressive Conflict in the Catholic Church

Pope Francis seeks the progressive path 
Photo courtesy:

U.S. Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke 
seeks the conservative path
Photo courtesy:

The struggle and conflict were always present from the beginning of the Catholic Church when Jesus Christ himself was a progressive, rejecting quite a number of strict teachings and traditions of the Old Testament and Jewish society and giving a new type of teachings based on love and mercy. He was put on the cross for this very action. Later, we also see conservative-progressive contention among Jesus' own disciples and apostles.

Dealing with this subject, this blogger Jerome D'Costa writes in his article: "Conservatives are also called 'fundamentalists' or 'fanatics.' They want to hold on to the roots or traditional beliefs, rules, and institutions. They cling to the old, they are afraid of the new or fresh ideas.

"Conservatives are usually judgmental -- they judge what is right or what is wrong, and what is sinful or what is not. Religious conservatives or fundamentalists prefer to count sins of others. They complain against any deviating from the religious teachings. They consider themselves above any infraction."

"Progressives, on the other hand, are also called liberals. They challenge old rules and regulations, they try to cope with the changes of the era and try to introduce and accept contemporary changes. They are eager to take sides with social justice and accept the poor and suffering. Since they try to follow the principle of 'love your neighbour,' they place greater importance on mercy, justice, forgiveness, and patience. They want to interpret and explain the Biblical teachings in light of new and changing situations of the world."

In modern times, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), called by Pope John XXIII, led the Catholic Church toward a progressive path. He wanted the Church to have fresh air and new ideas instead of the suffocating ones. Later, popes John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI deviated quite a way from the reforms and updating brought about by the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis, since his election on March 13, 2013, has been trying to introduce progressive ideas and reforms, but he is facing tremendous push back from the conservative elements in the Church. This struggle, sometimes vicious, is still on. 

To read the article of Jerome D'Costa on this subject, both in English and Bengali, please click on the following:

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment