The Evangelical Catholic Parish
George Weigel keeps hitting the nail on the head recently. Here’s a recent article in First Things. If it’s time for the Church to embrace evangelical Catholicism, it changes the way we see a parish. Under the current model, your standard, mediocre institutional-maintenance Catholic parish, of 2-5% intentional disciples, is unlikely to experience a huge difference when one parish priest is replaced by another. OK, so some changes always happen. Maybe he’ll move the furniture in the office or alter how the readers’ rota gets organised. In an evangelical Catholic parish, a lot more is at stake. I know such parishes are few and far between, but a few do exist here and there. If a parish has been built up, over many years, intentionally forming its parishioners for mission, with a self-consciously evangelistic approach to the world, the choice of a new parish priest is of incomparable importance – I would go as far as to say make-or-break, life-or-death importance for the parish. For an evangelically-minded local Church, then, the right priest to take on this parish will be one who can lead it to the next spiritual, and evangelistic, level. He will nurture what is there already and identify new areas into which the Holy Spirit wishes to lead that community. In an institutional-maintenance minded local Church, incredible fruits can be wiped out. So… thank you George Weigel… once again, I think he’s bang on the money.