George W#igel personifies all that is wrong with the institutional Catholic Church. In a word: Hubris! Overweening pride.
The lack of concern about the exodus of Catholics from the religion of their birth. Hubris!
The sexual exploitation by the clergy of the young, weak, and naive. Hubris!
The investigation (inquisition?) of the American women religious by the Vatican. Hubris!
The deification of the papacy. (This is just another form of idolatry, found in all ancient religions where the Hight Priest claimed a monopoly on Divine Wisdom. I am sure that St. Paul would have writeen a treasure trove of epistles, excoriating St. Peter, if he had declared his infallibility in the first century of commont time, instead of in 1870 by the First Vatican Council.) Hubris!
The misogynist doctrines, denying women full participation in all sacramental gifts. Hubris!
The homophobia of the institutional church. Hubris!
The anti-democratic organization of the insititutional church. (The institutional church has evolved into a (benevolent?) dictatorship, with the Vatican centralizing into itself more and more authority and control. This is a top-down organization , with no bottom-up input and decisional leadership. This is similar in organizational framework to the control of the Community Party in the old Soviet Union. In a multi-cultural environment, this organization model is inherently unstable.) Hubris!
The ancient Greeks had it right. In their tragedies, the protagonist's fatal flaw was always hubris, and the gods always brought him/her down. We are now at the end of the second act of our church's morality play, and the conflect as reached a crescendo. And what will be the resolution in the third act?
While I am hopeful, I am not optimistic. I fear that all of the problems of the institutional church will not be resolved with a deus ex machina ending, heralding a new spiritual direction and a renewed commitment to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Rather, given the retreat from the reforms of Vatican II, I suspect, given the hubris of those who speak for the institutional church such as George Weigel, more and more Catholics will simply drift away, after concluding that the Catholic Church is no longer a relevant moral institution in their lives.
My only hope is that demographic trends are working against the male exclusive, European centric, Caucasian oriented hierarchy. Not only are Catholics exiting the institutional church en mass in Europe and America, the total number of people in most European countries is declining, with births far below the number of deaths each year, and the little bit of in-migration causing severe social disruptions. In America, the life blood of the Church will be in the future as it has in the past, its Catholic immigrants, only now primarily Hispanic, but also Filipino and African.
In the near future, perhaps in the next one hundred years, the leadership of the institutional church will shift away from Europe, probably towards Africa, possibly to South America, where the greatest number of practicing Catholics will be concentrated. And then, perhaps, a cardinal whose father was born in Kenya will accomplish the most improbable; he will be elected pope, and will finally brng change we can believe in to the institutional church.
In the mean time, I have one piece of advice to George Weigel: Remove the plank from your own eye, before complaining about the splinter in Cardinal Bernadin's eye.