CAN THE CHURCH BE A DEMOCRACY?
The Church has a divinely instituted nature, which naturally inclines her to “democratic” practices. These were very early in evidence, much before similar practices began to appear in secular society. However, democracy as we know it, has many shortcomings and flaws. So, it is not for the Church to model herself on any existing democracy, but rather to integrate into her practice those democratic elements which enhance her already existing democratic nature, and to eliminate those elements which are not in harmony with it. During the post-Vatican II period, much has been achieved in this regard, especially in recognizing the rightful role of the laity; but more still needs to be done.
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https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2015/october/documents/papa-francesco_20151017_50-anniversario-sinodo.html (accessed on 7 Aug 202.
Italics by the author. The change in the text from “over” to “on behalf of” others was made at the request of 30 bishops: Acta Synodalia (Vatican, 1973), Vol. III, Part I, 273 & Vol. II, Part, III, 351.
K.T. Sebastian, The Era of the Lay People, Bandra: Pauline Publications, 1998, ch. 9.
Kotje, “The Selection of Church Officials,” 119.
M. Walsh, The Conclave, Norwhich: Canterbury Press, 2003; I have reviewed this book for Jeevadhara No. 226 (2008) 340-349.
Morrisey, “The New Code and the Laity” The Furrow, 37, 6 (1986) 378.
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Norman Tanner, “Reform of the Roman Curia,” Concilium (2013/5) 24, 89.
Norman Tanner, Was the Church too Democratic?, Bangalore: Dharmaram Publications, 2003, 6-7.
Parmananda Divarkar, “What Really is the Synod?” Vidyajyoti 63, 1, (1991) 3-6.
Pius XII, Speech to new Cardinals (Dec 1946), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 38 (1946) 145.
Quinn, Reform of the Papacy, Herder & Herder, 1999, 111-113.
R. Huysmans, “The Inquisition for which the Pope did not Ask Forgiveness,” The Jurist 6, 2 (2006) 469-482.
R. Kotje, “The Selection of Church Officials: Some Historical Facts and Experiences,” Concilium 7/3 (1971) 117-126 (at p 119).
Sieben, “Episcopal Conferences in Light of Particular Councils during the First Millennium,” 31.
T.J. Reese, “From a Seventeenth Court to a Modern Service,” Concilium (2013/5) 88-96, at 90.
Thought, 1963, N. 148, 68.
Yves Congar, Power and Poverty in the Church, Baltimore: Helicon, 1964, 127.