E.J.Dionne gives us a thought experiment today: what if the next person to head the Catholic Church were a nun? Dionne says that
handing leadership to a woman — and in particular, to a nun — would vastly strengthen Catholicism, help the church solve some of its immediate problems and inspire many who have left the church to look at it with new eyes.
Dionne makes an interesting case, and even if he is as he says “running ahead of the Spirit on this one” (by which he means the Holy Spirit not the Zeitgeist), his column is worth reading and thinking about.
The Catholic Church (and I would argue, the Church as a whole) is perceived as having two sides: the rigid hierarchical, doctrine- and rule-enforcing side, and the compassionate, do-justice-love-mercy working in the world side. How can the Church become a more unified, integrated institution and overcome this dichotomy? A Catholic who loves the Church deeply, Dionne asks us to step outside our usual processes and, just for a moment, imagine something different.
For the Church, for our lives, it’s important to perform these thought experiments from time to time: to let our God-given imaginations roam a bit in contradiction of the typical; to look at all kinds of issues and problems outside the constraints of what we believe is possible.
Something to think about as we move through Lent, pondering our sins and hoping for resurrection.