Reality Based Theology, or the 5% Solution? *

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Synchronicity: Thinking (and Speaking) Together

I wrote a couple of days ago how about how closely Richard Sipe’s comments (quoted at the Wild Reed) on sexuality and the church, on the sensus fidelium, and the hierarchy, so closely matched the conclusions I was reaching myself.  What I didn’t know at the time,  was that William Lindsey posted a comment at the Wild Reed immediately after my own with almost identical thoughts on the comments thread. Bill, like me, also wrote about this in his own blog, drawing attention to the “synchronicity” involved:  Colleen Kochivar – Baker too had been writing along similar lines. Since then, Bill has written again about the synchronicities involved.

“Synchronicity” is a word I have been using a lot lately, especially in private correspondence with Bill Lindsey.  There have been several occasions where one or other of us have been wanting to write on a particular topic, but have been slow to do so:  then found the other has written something  almost identical.  As illustration, the story of the South African athlete is one example.  As a South African travelling in that country as the news broke of rumoured gender test results, I was thinking of writing, but stalled as I wondered if it was strictly relevant to this blog .  No sooner had I decided to put something together, than I found that Bill had written a post with almost identical thoughts to my own, so I left the topic alone, except for a comment at Bilgrimage.   There have also been other examples.

“Synchronicity” is a word carefully chosen, in clear distinction to “co-incidence”.  In strictly temporal terms, they mean much the same thing, but “co-incidence” implies an occurrence due purely to chance.  “Synchronicity” has no such connotation, and suggests instead at least the possibility of some linking causality- such as (perhaps) the influence of the Holy Spirit. Read the rest of this entry »

Sexual Ethics and the Sensus Fidelium

At The Wild Reed, Michael Bayley has a short extract from an old NCR article by Arthur Jones on Richard Sipe, speaking about the disjunction of the official teaching on sexual matters and the attitudes and practices of the laity.

At one point in Jones’ article, Sipe notes that “In terms of human sexuality, the Church is at a pre-Copernican stage of understanding” – a reference, notes Jones, to “15th century Catholic priest and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who resurrected, despite church opposition, the scientific theory of the sun rather than the Earth as the center of the solar system.”

Says Sipe: “The church has not come to understand the nature of sex. And it’s not easily understood – we have to struggle along with the neurological, the genetic, the psychological, the evolutionary basis of it. The church has not done that and is frightened of doing it.”

The post then continues with observations on the response of the laity and its importance:

What the laity has began to realize, [Sipe] said, is that the reason the [clergy sexual abuse] scandal is so destabilizing to the church is because it goes to the fundamentals of the doctrine. The laity wants all these questions reexamined and rediscussed – from contraception, homosexuality, masturbation, sex before marriage, to sex after divorce, even abortion. The laity is beginning to ask the church on questions of human sexuality, “On what basis are you saying this is natural and this is unnatural? The laity is questioning the church’s reasoning on what is natural and how it’s natural and demanding it be rethought. This questioning is so compelling that nothing can turn it back,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »