Wednesday, November 26, 2014


In this competition, the new providers of religious supply - from the Pentecostals and Charismatics to the New Age - have good cards to play: an extreme flexibility, a great indulgence toward expressivity.

But the traditional religious providers also have substantial resources at their disposal: a consolidated “brand,” an enormous reserve of symbols and rites, a great understanding of the local markets. This is, of course, on the condition of liberating themselves from the “old” scruples of orthodoxy and orthopraxis; on the condition that they accept having less significance in order to have more visibility.

Within Catholicism as well many religious providers have adopted and are adopting the forms of a low-intensity religion.

In this atmosphere it is no accident that the Catholic Church should develop a problem with the sacrament of marriage. This is literally inconceivable in a perspective of low-intensity religion, which instead devotes great but generic attention to the well-being of the family.

Careful consideration of the features of the religious boom currently taking place is indispensable for understanding the meaning of processes and crises like those that concern the Catholic clergy. To a large extent these processes and these crises are an expression of the attempt to assimilate Catholicism with a low-intensity religion.

And great lucidity is also required to avoid resorting to solutions that are in the spotlight today, like those that would have priestly ordination no longer reserved for celibate males. The Christian traditions that ordain married men and even women, and therefore have a proportionally larger quantity of clergy available, find themselves facing exactly the same problems and often in decidedly more acute forms.

Luca Diotallevi

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