While presenting an article by Fr Jose Parapully, Fr Sebastian pointed out that our rigouristic and perfectionist model of religious life is largely due to the times in which the major congregations were founded... 1600-1950. These were the modern times characterised by dualism-mechanism (Descartes), Scientific and mathematical certainty (Newtonian physics). This era in history was challenged by the major developments in science and maths: theory of relativity, quantum theory, process philosophy, systems theory... This affected every branch of life and study. A shift was observed in every sphere:
theology (image of God): Immovable mover to Emoting being
psychology: instinctual theory to relational and inter-subjective theories
ethics: good and bad to situational ethics
economics: competition to collaboration
medicine: corporeal medicine to body-mind-spirit healing
sociology: hierarchy to networking
spirituality: mechanistic-dualistic to holistic-ecological
I was wondering what if there was a religious congregation founded today... in the so-called 'postmodern' times. Would it really have a 'footing' in the Church? I fear it might be scorned as some new heresy or some new age thinking. I also feel that such congregations will not spring up any more.
What next then? Those existing ought to change according to the times or perish with the times!