“Go team, go!”

This de-theologizing and de-sacramentalizing of our understanding of the Church is now very widespread. Consider a small but telling incident. An archbishop in the Northeast is addressing lay leaders on the years of scandal and wants to end on an upbeat note. With a warm and winning smile, he declares, “I’m here to tell you we got a great church!” This is a bishop of the Catholic Church. Imagine, if you can, Ambrose or Aquinas or John Paul II saying, “We got a great church.” I know, you can’t. Neither can I. What kind of operative ecclesiology is in the archbishop’s mind and heart? Maybe “The Catholic Church, Inc.” Or the voluntary association with the biggest and best niche in the religious marketplace. Like a basketball coach during a losing streak: “I’m here to tell you we got a great team!” Yes, it’s a little incident, but implicit in it are the ravages wreaked by the construal of Vatican II in discontinuity from the story of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.