Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quote of the Day

Well-informed U.S. Catholics are acutely aware of the arrogance, paternalism, flawed logic, inflammatory rhetoric, failure of personal accountability, and lack of pastoral sensitivity of many of our church leaders.

The U.S. bishops have set the tone with their continued denial of the wholesale rejection of church teaching on contraception; their clumsy, heavy-handed, ineffective attempt to influence national health care legislation; their opposition to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians; and their condemnation of the work of theologian St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson without even meeting with her.

. . . The history of the official church has been one of conflict, corruption, violence and scandal, but if we are believers, we know that as much as we would like to, we cannot separate the institution from the community of the faithful.

But we can pray, and we can trust in the Holy Spirit that our church leaders will come to realize they have lost their teaching voice and will come to discern, consulting with the community of the faithful, how their legitimate authority can be exercised far more effectively and pastorally.

As we pray, we might appreciate that those of us who resist the “hard-liners” are as imperfect and broken as they appear to be. Their words and actions may have greater impact than ours, but why should we expect them to be different from us, and why should we allow their imperfections and brokenness deprive us from something so life-giving, so grace-filled, so sanctifying?

And we can speak out. All the silent bishops who do not agree with the approach of these church leaders can speak out. All the bishops and priests and religious who do not accept church teaching on contraception can speak out. All who believe that women should be priests can speak out. All who believe celibacy is a gift, not a mandate, can speak out. All who understand and accept the reality of homosexual orientation can speak out.

We are the people of God. We are called to be prophetic voices. . . .

– Brian Cahill
"Why Let Bishops Drive Us from the Church We Love?"
National Catholic Reporter
May 2, 2011

See also the previous PCV posts:
The Call of the Baptized: Be the Church, Live the Mission
It's Critical That Catholics Find Their Voice
The Consensus of the Faithful as the Voice of the Infallible Church
Richard Gaillardetz on the Need to "Wrestle with the Tradition"
Communicating with Leadership
Let Our Voices Be Heard!

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