Over at Catholic Exchange (via Crisis Magazine), Brian Saint-Paul tells us of a new Catholic dissident organization (yippee, another one) that hopes not only to reform the Catholic Church in the United States, but to actually overthrow it.
Take Back Our Church (founded by ex-Jesuit Robert Blair Kaiser) plans on fomenting a kind of spiritual insurrection that will result in a home-grown American Catholic Church that does not answer to the Pope (or anyone else, I assume). Why, or how, they would refer to this as a Catholic Church is somewhat mysterious, but let us press on...
Kaiser is the author of a book titled A Church in Search of Itself: Benedict XVI and the Battle for the Future, the thrust of which Saint-Paul sums up for us;
"The Fathers of Vatican II ushered in a golden age of openness, tolerance, and progressive action. Unfortunately, the dark forces of John Paul II and his diabolical collaborator, Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, clamped down on this movement of the Spirit, dragging the Church back to the Dark Ages..."
I know some Rad Trads who may be surprised to hear that...
"In light of this, thinking Catholics need to reclaim their Church — and maybe even start an American Catholic Church of their own."
So, look out, Catholics! Kaiser aspires to be the spiritual Guy Fawkes of the New Catholicism, blowing to smithereens the stuffy parliament of the old Catholic hierarchy in America.
This is the exact opposite of a grass-roots movement (though grass may well be involved). A true grass-roots movement takes shape because large numbers of people share the same idea, want the same things and can make common cause with one another to create change. Kaiser is a contributing editor of Newsweek, and the membership of his organization stands at 580. This is an elitist movement, germinated in the hot-house of American media culture.
"We will write a Declaration of Autochthony (let's see you pronounce that), one that will challenge our priest-people and our people-people to work out a constitution for the American Church that carefully puts aside the Rome-based secretive, half-vast, culturally-conditioned legalisms codified in canon law in return for the kind of servant Church envisioned at Vatican II."
Never mind that Kaiser would probably run screaming from the room if you showed him any of the actual documents from Vatican II... (I'm melting! I'm melting! Oh, what a world!...)
I find it hilarious that this guy hopes to craft a Constitution after coining such terms as "people-people".
I am also finding it harder to keep track of all these dissident groups. It's confusing. I mean, if We Are Church, why would we need to Take Back Our Church? Why does FutureChurch pine for the good old days of Vatican II?
In a way, I am always a little excited to hear about someone planning to start some sort of independent American Catholic Church because it makes me hopeful that, were such a monstrosity actually to come about, all the kooks would flock to it and leave us regular Catholic folk in relative peace. But then I remember that such a split would no doubt grieve the Holy Spirit, and possibly cause the loss of a great number of souls, and I come back to my senses.
No, better for all concerned if the dissidents never achieve their goals.
Kaiser is on a roll, though, and hopes to expand his organization's meager membership by having all current members e-mail their friends and encourage them to join. You know, like Amway.
Ooh! I shiver as a Shadow grows in Mordor...