The current crisis in the Church is expressed as a wicked problem and some possible ways forward are retrieved from the teaching of Vatican II. Chris Richardson is a retired Catholic secondary headteacher and diocesan commissioner. He is currently a visiting lecturer in Catholic School Leadership at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.
The word crisis has been heard in Church circles more and more over the last decade. Encouragingly it was missing from reports on the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. The publication of the relation half way through the Synod caused the usual flurry of excitement and expectation among the media and those anxious to see a more pastoral approach to the divorced and a more inclusive approach to homosexuals. There was also dismay and even anger among those who saw the proposals as incompatible with Scripture and Tradition and a betrayal of those who adhered faithfully to Church teaching.
Unusually the result was not a complete anti-climax. The whole process adopted by the Synod and its continuation through a further period of reflection and debate before it resumed last October can be seen as a recognition that the Church is not dealing with a crisis but with something else.