Some flip, some not.
1. First yes to those who are commenting that the big bit of unfinished business is the bishops' mutual accountability. Or lack thereof, and lack of public fraternal correction.
Face it. You can publicly scold Catholic pro-choice politicians and skanky, outré Catholic artistes all you want, but when you won’t publicly correct your own for their own malfeasance and abuses of power, no one’s going to take you seriously, and yes that’s a profound loss of moral authority, but no, it’s not the Boston Globe’s fault.
2. Perhaps we could see each diocese instigate a several-months long examination of conscience of all of its employees on all levels. The question will be: Do I believe this stuff? Can I honestly assent to the creed as recited at Mass and historically understood by the Church? If I have doubts (and who doesn't), do I deal with them in a spirit of humility?
And then, at the end of this period, an invitation will be extended, in love, without judgment: employees who aren't completely on the boat, who are living off the church but who really do not believe what it teaches, should find new employment somewhere else. We'll give you severance, we'll give you good recommendations, but if you're using church offices and resources to spread anything other than the Gospel - God bless, but move on.
3. Most of you probably don't know that the bishops do, indeed, have a committee charged with making sure that catechetical materials are faithful to Church teaching. My husband attended a meeting of this committee once on behalf of his publisher. Anything used in a Catholic school is supposed to be approved by this group. However, as we all know, it doesn't seem to be working. My daughter's science, social studies, math and literature books are all around 400 pages long. Her religion book is about 150, I think, paperback, with lots o pictures. I might be time for the bishops to move beyond the catechetical directory and their committee and commission their own curriculum - not require it, but presented as a standard.
4. Start an arts journal. Really. Gregory Wolfe already has Image, so he's not available, but put someone like Barbara Nicolosi in charge, someone who can publish a quarterly or even monthly that's edgy, engaging, beautiful, true and unafraid. Put a bunch of money into it, and then step back.
5. Declare a 6-month moratorium on preaching. I'm perfectly serious. Okay, the bishops can still preach. But on one else - no priests, no deacons, no stewardship-drumming couples. Watch Mass attendance soar. But that wouldn't be the reason - give everyone a period of time to step back and consider what homilies are, what they should be, and why they are so bad. Then, at the end of the time, institute a licentiate for preaching. In other words - just because you're ordained, doesn't mean you can preach.
(Not unheard of, of course - with sometimes unintended, ironic consequences, as with Solanus Casey who was ordained a simplex priest and forbidden to hear confessions or preach at Mass. Who then spent his life sitting at friary doors, listening to people's problems and pain and giving advice, prayers and miracles.)
(Okay well, I understand that homilies are required. Let's compromise. 3 minute homilies for six months? That would focus us.)
6. As you know, the topic that gets people going the most here is liturgy. No question. The liturgy is most people's most frequent and consistent - and for some the only - contact with the church. It is, like the document says, what it's supposed to be - the source and summit of our faith. People are simply fed up with being assaulted at Mass, for lack of a better word. They're tired of being assaulted with bad music, with liturgical ministers who treat them like stubborn children, with presiders who make stuff up from beginning to end, who think that the purpose of the liturgy is to share their own beautiful personalities, with attempts to manipulate them into states of feeling or being or belief. They want to pray. They don't want to be left alone (okay, some do) - they understand that liturgy is prayer in community, but they are simply tired of being talked at, shrieked at, at having liturgies with no discernible organic structure because there is so much extemporaneous crap going on. They want to pray.
Let them. Tell priests to stop making stuff up, yesterday. Encourage pastors to invite their congregations to illumine and decorate their churches. Just let it be known that here, Christ is, for you, and we will do our best to balance the serious tasks of pointing you to Him, and then getting the heck out of the way.
7. Every parish in the country should twin with another parish or ministry and commit itself to tithing (at least) time, treasure and talent for the benefit of its partner. So, for example, large parishes with scads of money should twin with a poor parish in its own diocese, a poor parish overseas, a needy Catholic school, an immigrant ministry - and smaller parishes could twin with a ministry commensurate with its capabilities, adopting it as a primary responsibility and expression of Jesus' command to love.