So I will join the crowd and indulge a brief bellyache and issue my own little bullish response to the most recent papal statement, which has caused quite a stir.
Regardless of what the Pope says, I still believe in the sacramental priesthood and that I remain, however imperfectly, a member of that Order. I also believe I serve the Church, despite the reminder by His Holiness that we are not a church. As I pronounced last rites for a remarkable Christian of the community I serve this past week and then shared communion with his loving family, I find the Pope's statement pastorally callous, however rooted it might be in Roman Catholic ecclesiology.
It is the Spirit and God in Christ at work in the "ecclesiastical community" that defines the Church and makes the sacraments valid, not the magisterium declaring proper apostolic succession, nor my personal virtue or lack of same.
I still love my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. The path to ecumenical relationship and the persistent dream of reunification, however wistful, is through our incarnate, shared ministries in the community -- not through the doors of the Vatican. But the Pope continues to have my prayers, and unconditional ones at that.
As Tobias Haller writes, he has said nothing new, and that should suffice as an antacid.
There, that's succinct and straightforward as far as bellyaches go. Off to unload the dishwasher.
Update before lunch: The widely circulated AP Report notes speculation but little substance about the motivation behind the Vatican's statement making such a statement at this time.
So we are left with Daniel's incessant question these days: Dooshite? Why?
Maybe the Pope needs a few more questioning three-year-olds around him!
So says this Papa, at least.
Update during lunch: Tobias has risen to the occasion and offered a more in-depth analysis.
Daniel would likely continue to press the question. So do I!