While we may have left a particular church building, we are still in the Church. At the same time, we are in disagreement with the institutional church and because dissention is not tolerated by the institution, walking away from that church was the only way that we could state our disagreement with the Church.
The "Church" that Timothy refers to in the Mr. Halama’s Biblical quote has evolved into a combination of an earthly institution and the collective People of God. That duality was made clear during Vatican II. While the Holy Spirit guides both - the "Church" is an organization of humans and we don't always listen. There is much evidence that the institutional church is not listening right now and that it is on the wrong path in many ways.
The time has come for another Counter Reformation. The time has come for the People of God – the laity, priests, bishops, cardinals, and the Pope – to redirect the institutional church. We must collectively evaluate the nature of the“religious cliffs” the institution is facing and seek answers that agree with the mandate given to the Church by Jesus. We must change the Church. The
time has come.
I recommend that Mr. Halama and others who would follow the institutional church over the nearest religious cliff without questioning the institution’s motives, read Brother Louis DeThomasis' book, "Flying in the Face of Tradition." It's a very interesting read, written by someone who knows and understands the "Church."
Yes, the People of God are called by the Spirit to become a part of the conversation -an obligation the institution currently attempts to deny. Nevertheless, as during the Counter Reformation, the People of God WILL be heard on these issues- and the institutional church WILL change.
It always has.
This commentary was first published November 25, 2012 by the Winona Daily News