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The Virtue of Democracy (Sat Jul 1, 2006 10:31 am )

Vatican II proclaims: "[Humanity] substitutes a dynamic and more evolutionary concept of nature for a static one, and the result is an immense series of new problems calling for a new endeavor of analysis and synthesis" (Gaudium et Spes, n 5). Starting with the apostles, this "new endeavor of analysis and synthesis" identifies the voice of the community over a monarch as a more accurate witness of the promise of the Holy Spirit to be with us until the end, because:

a. Democracy acknowledges the dignity, knowledge, and conscience of the community while the monarch can override the majority or even ignore community wisdom. (It happened with contraception)
b. Democratic collective wisdom better recognizes the signs of the times while the monarch has but a single perspective.
c. Democracy recognizes error in human judgment and provides the means to correct it, while the monarch admits of no mistakes (Divine Right of Kings).
d. Democracy honors individual responsibility to the community and embodies, "Do unto others what you want them to do to you", while monarchy commands obedience over all other considerations.
e. A democratic community remembers the past, understands the present, and looks to the future. It provides the ability to change direction through change of leadership, openness, accountability, and new insights to old truths while a monarchy is stuck with the unquestionable ruling of an appointed monarch-for-life.
f. Democracy gives voice to the Holy Spirit in all of us while the monarch has but one voice.
g. Democracy acknowledges that "We are the Church." The monarch claims it for HIMself (sic).
h. The democratic community is responsible for its own resources and common good, while the monarch owns it all, appoints his friends as leaders, and defines the common good as he wishes. Is it any wonder that the monarchical Church structure, based on the Roman Imperial model, is in deep trouble in a democratically oriented world that listens to the Spirit speaking through the sensus fidelium of the community?

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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