Millennial editor Robert Christian writes: While a small group of ideologues have tried to hijack the crisis to promote their preexisting agenda against Vatican II, gay priests, or celibacy, the general response among millennial Catholics has transcended the many internal divisions that exist within the U.S. church. The anger is palpable. There is anger at […]
When I was evaluating systems of ethical thought back in the ’80s, I encountered the only meaningful definition of conservatism that I know. A conservative believes that institutions are difficult to create and maintain – that when society crumbles institutions are starved of resources and die. For this reason, a conservative tends to deny support until the needy prove they can organize – to create institutions.
This bias shields the immoral leader of an institution. The leader basks in the authority transmitted by the office – authority invested by the public that understands the importance of the leader’s role in serving the general welfare.
For this reason, we tend to identify the leadership with the institution, and so reflect the sins of the leader upon the institution itself. But institutions survive their leaders, and so can be evaluated only against the sweep of history – a history that in the case of the Catholic Church is longer than any other institution in existence.
I am certain that in that context the Church has been a great good. If it has created trauma in my generation, it stands to bear in mind that a significant factor was the decline in vocations. If the millennial generation believes that better must be done, they have the opportunity to assume the role themselves. The only alternative is to throw in with denominations that lack the influence to speak globally, and whose leaders often manipulate their congregations for personal gain without any effective oversight.