The End of the Catholic Church

I was talking to a friend about the current scandals rocking the Catholic Church. He made the off-the-cuff comment that we could be witnessing the end of the Catholic Church. Another friend of mine was there (who’s PhD was on Catholic ecclesiology), disagreed, and claimed that the Catholic Church had been through worse and would weather this storm just fine.

At this point I was with my second friend. The scandals just don’t seem to be even in the right scale to bring about the collapse of the whole institution.

Friend the first then recounted his experience of the end of the cold war. He remembers thinking that, even though there were signs of trial, global communism could weather the storm. Then one night, protesters were standing on the Berlin wall with pickaxes. Sure, he said, we can see with hindsight that there were cracks. The fall seems not just unsurprising now, but practically inevitable. But then it didn’t feel like that. If there were a sudden set of revelations that snowballed, the Catholic Church could collapse in weeks, and we’d all be sitting around in 5 years time rehearsing the many many obvious reasons for its collapse.

I think he’s right. I still don’t think it is likely. But if the Berlin Wall taught us anything, its that the end comes quickly.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The End of the Catholic Church

  1. Xander

    As long as people always need hope, the Catholic church will probably be around. The numbers have been diminishing for sometime, but that is true of Christianity as well.

  2. Maybe it, like AIG, is too big to fail đŸ™‚

  3. I can count many times I was certain something would not happen and it did (and vica versa). If the Catholic Church fell, which sect do you think would fill the void if any?
    My guess — the charismatics in the Southern Hemisphere, Evangelicals in the North and the other Catholics would mainly just stick to their TVs. I do think that Bingo would survive perhaps as an underground Catholic cult group.

  4. Ian

    One of the most interesting features of the Catholic church is its belief in the lineage of the Popes back to Peter (which is more or less entirely fictional, sorry traditional, initially). If it were to collapse, I’d expect to see a very large number of new religious movements spring up making claims to that lineage.

    Charismatics and Evangelicals yes, I agree.

    Bingo? Lost me there…

  5. Sabio

    Bingo is not an uncommon fund raising activity for the Catholic church in the good ole US of A– old folks and others love it as a social event and kind of like the lottery — though perhaps the lottery has hurt it.

    The Catholic church actually offers some liberal theologies — pluralism and such. But most Catholics have no idea about theology and are in it for the tradition of their elders and have no real interest in religion but more in the superstitious side, in my humble opinion — if I were to venture generalizing.

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