Tuesday 16 January 2018

Daragh McDowell: The Vatican can't survive as a monolith

Change is essential and the church can start the process by talking with its followers, not at them, writes

Daragh McDowell

An old family acquaintance from the Seventies had an observation combined with a prophesy that he was fond of making. "There are two great monoliths in the world," he would tell my father, "the Vatican and the Kremlin. In the long run, my money is on the former outlasting the latter."

That bet was settled in 1992, but while our friend was attempting to differentiate the leadership of the Catholic and Communist worlds, they are, in fact, strikingly similar. Reform has been stifled and crises have multiplied across virtually all the structures of the church for the same reason they were in Brezhnev's Soviet Union.

Consider the spectacle we just witnessed. A man has been named supreme spiritual leader of over one billion people, after roughly 48 hours of consultation among a tiny, self-selected elite of conservative, European (for the most part) men (exclusively).

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