Dear Archbishop Nienstedt:
Thank you for the Rediscover Catholicism initiative and the copy of the book by Matthew Kelly. We wholeheartedly agree that a conversion of spirit is necessary for the Archdiocese to begin working together as one. As Richard Rohr has said about us in our spiritually immature condition, “The egocentric will still dominates: the need to be right, the need to be first, the need to think I am saved and other people are not. This is the lowest level of human consciousness, and God cannot be heard from that heady place or met at that level.” We all have to humbly surrender to the Spirit of God to rise to a new level of consciousness.
We acknowledge that we the Catholic laity need conversion of spirit. We ask you to acknowledge that you, as the spiritual leader of the Archdiocese, need conversion also. Through Matthew Kelly’s book you are addressing “unengaged” Catholics, Catholics who are immersed in individualism, hedonism, and minimalism (just enough religion to get by). We call your attention also to the many very engaged Catholics, imbued with Gospel values, who are now disengaging because they see entrenched policies and practices of the Church that are inconsistent with those Gospel values. It would be a first step to healing if you publicly sought to open your heart and mind to the people you have alienated. Until you do, your words about evangelization do not meet the authenticity test that Matthew Kelly advocates.
Many of us will gather with others in our parishes to discuss this book, listen to each other, ponder in our hearts, apply our God-given reasoning powers, and discern together what the Holy Spirit is saying to us in 2013. Matthew Kelly’s hopes for the program reported in Joe Towalski’s Catholic Spirit article on January 3 gave us hope: “Most of all I am looking forward to [how] it will ignite people’s faith [in ways] that we have not even imagined. We are working toward some intended outcomes, but the Holy Spirit will take this work and use it for so much more.”
If we, lay and ordained together, turned to God within each other, our Archdiocese could become the shining example of Church—the “best version “ of Church—that we are meant to be: fully alive, radiating Jesus' core teaching of radical equality, unabashed inclusivity and transforming love.
Progressive Catholic Voice editorial team