Death Throes of the Church?

  (24 February 09)
  by Greg Spearritt

In his latest book, The Meaning of the West: An Apologia for Secular Christianity, radical theologian Don Cupitt argues that Western culture simply is Christianity nowadays. It’s in secular, humanitarian Western society that the outsider is welcomed (e.g. gays), the poor and the weak are cared for (e.g. through aid budgets) and human life is respected and celebrated (at funerals we honour Jill’s life rather than pray for her soul).


God’s creative, compassionate powers have become incarnate in humanity, and the Church’s mission is fulfilled: it’s the Kingdom of God finally “on earth as it is in heaven”.


In all of this, however, the Church has been left behind: “I am very embarrassed by the present-day Church’s ugly moral backwardness” says Cupitt.


We see exactly this played out in the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane in its dealings with the parish of St Mary’s Catholic Church, South Brisbane. This is a parish where compassion and justice are privileged over doctrine, where women are allowed to preach, gay relationships are celebrated and marginalised people are welcomed. It’s all too much for Rome.


St Mary’s shows, in Cupitt’s words,  that


Christ has returned and the Church is obsolete (though, as Dostoyevsky foresaw, the Grand Inquisitor is far from pleased; he loves the Church and spiritual power much more than he ever loved Christ).”




Rarely has a church dispute made such headlines in Australia. Last weekend (21/22 Feb)saw major features in magazines that are part of the Weekend Australian and the Courier-Mail.

As is usually the case Christopher Pearson has come out yesterday in the W.Aust. with the church line on this matter.

I'm not too popular with St Mary's attendees for promoting a complete break from the church and the formation of the St Mary's Community as a spiritual (Christian-related) group with no denominational affiliation.

Just look at the history of significant innovation in the church over the centuries:
Methodism breaks from Anglican Church
Salvation Army breaks from Methodism (I think), and others I can't recall.

Posted by Scott McKenzie

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