Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Archbishop John Quinn on the Papacy and Collegiality

In searching for some of the writings of our new Pope, I found the text of this 1996 lecture by Archbishop Quinn given at Oxford. As we begin this new chapter of our Church's history, it would be good to consider Archbishop Quinn's timely words:

In considering the papal office and the call to Christian unity, we have to confront the challenging truth that it is not permitted to defer unity until there is a Pope who can fulfill everyone's expectations or agenda. We cannot hold unity hostage until there is a perfect Pope in a perfect Church. Christian unity will require sacrifice. But it cannot mean that all the sacrifices must be made by those who want full communion with the Catholic Church while the Catholic Church herself makes no significant sacrifices. Of the individual Christian the Scripture says, "You have been bought at a price" (1 Cor 6:2). Similarly, we all have to face the fact that unity among Christians will be bought at a price. All will have to sacrifice. If we are serious about the goal of unity, we must be serious about the cost of unity.

Archbishop Quinn's insight reminds me of another statement on unity, this time from the liturgical standpoint:

The diversity of people present at a parish liturgy gives rise to a further problem. Can the same parish liturgy be an authentic expression for a grade school girl, her college-age brother, their married sister with her young family, their parents, their grandparents? Can it satisfy the theologically and musically educated along with those lacking in training? Can it please those who seek a more informal style of celebration? The planning team must consider the general makeup of the total community. Each Christian must keep in mind that to live and worship in community often demands a personal sacrifice. Everyone must be willing to share likes and dislikes with those whose ideas and experience may be quite different. (Music in Catholic Worship, 17)

Read Archbishop Quinn's work, The Reform of the Papacy (Ut Unum Sint), published in 1999.