It usually takes contradiction to come to a wise point of view. Thesis and antithesis bring about synthesis as we often oversimply from Hegel’s dialectics. I see caricatures all over the place, and the kind of thing that alienates most people from organised religion. We have our crass materialistic and legalist layman from California, but my days of caring about his opinions are over. Another caricature is the question of modern Gnosticism. An article by Fr Hunwicke – It is important to keep up the pressure – refers to the article (I found the link via Google) Gnosticism Today by Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap. Everyone seems to be calling others Gnostics like they might have used the expression bloody bastard in the past. Gnosticism is a highly complex world view with many double-edged swords, and few have the slightest understanding of it. There are plenty of stereotypes, to be sure, as there are for everything else – just like with autistics and every other individual who doesn’t fit in with the in-thing of the moment.
In my humble opinion neither the “Bergoglians” nor the traditionalists are anywhere near Gnosticism. If Gnosticism exists, it isn’t any kind of an “-ism” and it is a matter of individual persons, not groups. I am one of those who sincerely believe that the fulness of human intelligence and nobility is found in individuals, and that IQ drops proportionately with the size of a group. That may sound cynical to many, but it seems like fact to me.
There were Gnostic sects in the times of the early Church. Some remained within the doctrinal boundaries of traditional Christianity, and others took other paths akin to the ancient non-Christian mystery schools. Those tendencies that remained too near the Church for comfort were mercilessly persecuted. The collective leopard never changes its spots!
Most institutional Christianity has not learned its lesson, so most people follow another totalitarian religion, that of consumer materialism. A few seek a more individual and spiritual view, away from the noise and fashions of society. Most institutional churches treat people like babies, but many people find this appropriate for them because they are babies (even when they have adults’ bodies). We all need to grow up and became aware and conscious!
It is my hope that individual souls can come together in communion to live what I believe was Christ’s original intention for a church or communion of the noble of spirit. If the Church is not this, I really fail to see the point.