Just who will lead the Church out of her current, unprecedented crisis, known only to a handful of geeky Catholics who follow the Catholic internet?
Maybe it is a comment on our current culture, but how informed are Catholics about what is happening in the Church that we Catholic internet geeks know about?
Last Sunday at our morning Faith Formation class, I asked about 25 people in attendance what they knew. No one knew anything.
Most Catholics probably don't read the Catholic blogs out there that bloviate about, this, that and the other in a truculent way.
If one relies on the evening national news on the major networks or even watches the cable news sources, there isn't much on the current controversy either.
I doubt that priests are preaching about it. I know I am not.
Yet, what is happening at the Vatican is one of the most compelling stories as it concerns the broad sweep of Catholic history. It is unique especially in a world of instant news, communication and commentary most of which is on the Catholic blogs of questionable stripe.
But there is a crisis in the papacy and it is caused by the Holy Father himself not only in terms of his vagueness, ambiguity and multiplicity of words on this, that and the other, often disconnected from what a Catholic needs to consider in a serious way, such as when His Holiness pontificates as a psychologist on the mental state of some people in which His Holiness holds in disdain, but also in His Holiness stonewalling in answering legitimate questions concerning defined Catholic moral teaching.
Many will acknowledge that Pope Francis was elected in part to reform the curia which under the papacies of Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict had gotten out of control. In part this was due to Saint John Paul II preferring to be a world traveler early in his papacy and His Holiness incapacity due to his Parkinson's ' disease which marred His Holiness last years. Pope Benedict was not an administrator and delegated that to incompetent cardinals.
But today under Pope Francis, the curia is in such disarray and dysfunction that compared to the John Paul and Benedict eras it looks like a meltdown.
Pope Francis' earthy way of communicating, using terms that scandalize many, may be His Holiness way of destroying the ultramontain mentality of some conservative Catholics. Yet it has created a new form of papal groupies or ultramontantists among the heterodox or liberal wings of Catholics.
Our only hope in the current crisis is that God will eventually lead the Church out of this desert experience which last 40 years for the Jews, keep in mind, to a new clarity and unity in the Church made smaller by internal and external evil forces but eventually purified and made more faithful. Mark my words. There is a reason for this current confusion in God's design and it has to do with restoration in a definitive way with the Church's former great discipline and strong identity.