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Move away from ‘European’ Church, leading cardinal urges

October 28, 2013

Speaking in Texas, the chairman of the Commission of Cardinals advising Pope Francis said that the Church must serve only Jesus Christ, not its own organizational needs.

“Even Jesus didn’t proclaim Himself,” Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga remarked in his address to the University of Dallas Ministry Conference. He said that the challenge for the Church today lies in “humbly trying to follow Jesus.”

The Honduran cardinal said that the reforms needed at the Vatican today include a move to make the message and structure of the Catholic Church truly universal, rather than European. He observed: “The ‘Italianation’ of the Church has always been tied to power.”

Cardinal Rodriguez said that the Church is also learning to appreciate the role of the laity, and reject the image of a “society of unequals” in which the clergy take precedence. “We are here to serve, and that requires lowering ourselves to become servants,” he said.

Today the Church must confront the global power of financial capital, the cardinal said. He said that Christians must “destroy the power of the new feudal lords,” by building a culture based on “mercy and solidarity, and a return to the Church of the poor.”


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  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Oct. 29, 2013 12:17 PM ET USA

    Card. Maradiaga said, "Even Jesus didn't proclaim Himself." ... What-??? ... How about John 14:6. Anyone? Hello?

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Oct. 28, 2013 9:43 PM ET USA

    I'd like to hear some specifics from the Cardinal on how he wants Christians to "destroy the power of the new feudal lords by building a culture based on mercy and solidarity and a return to the Church of the poor." What does he mean?

  • Posted by: Baseballbuddy - Oct. 28, 2013 6:27 PM ET USA

    I hope this does not turn out to be a situation where the Church begins to eat its own. While the hierarchy certainly is long overdue for a healthy dose of self criticism (its rubber-stamping of annulments that undermine marriage; shrill condemnation of secular culture without seeing how lax catechesis has contributed to indifferentism), it may not be wise to give Church enemies the idea (and satisfaction) that we endorse an in-house witch hunt.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Oct. 28, 2013 2:57 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Rodriguez's remarks are appropriate; the Church in Europe is on life support and itself needs missionaries from places like Africa and South America. When I first read the headline, I thought he was recommending forgetting the European contribution to Church history, a grave mistake. But that is not his tack at all. Instead he -- like Francis -- is talking about reinvigorating the Church, injecting into its moribund members healthy cells from those members that are flourishing.