That’s the headline on a Wall Street Journal article about the purported struggles of Pope Francis to manage the church of which he’s the nominal [sic] head.
For me, though, as a personally religious man who’s neither a Catholic nor enamored of institutional religion in general, I’m confused by this struggle.
How can there be any struggle? Why are the tensions accepted as something to be taken seriously?
The Church’s tenets are inviolate; morals are universal and inviolate.
All that might vary over time or across cultures is the way in which those tenets, morals generally, are upheld, defended, and enforced.
The Pope needs to consider putting his foot down and enforcing—in no uncertain terms—the Church’s fundamental tenets.
That might cause a schism? Possibly. Likely, even. But there’s a major so what here. Sure, the schism itself would be painful and badly inconvenient. However, the Church has grown stronger after every schism. Christianity has grown stronger since the Catholicism-Protestantism schism.
At worst, after any schism from Francis’ putting his foot down, the Church would be rid of those who can’t support Catholic tenets and would have a clearer path forward. And those who can’t support those fundamental Catholic holdings would be free to create and support their own church with their own clearer path.
Sort of like the Church of England, for all the shabby reason for its origin.