I`m back! After a week`s absence, from home and this blog, I`m ready to jump back into pondering about our Catholic church. In all honesty, I was running out of steam, and running out of inspiration. Then I clicked on to the latest news from National Catholic Reporter. Oh my…
Roy Bourgeois’ priesthood can never truly end | National Catholic Reporter.
I encourage all to read the news about Maryknoll priest, Roy Bourgeois, founder of the School of the Americas Watch and a life-long social justice activist. (Jamie L. Manson, as usual, does a superb job of showing the deeper meaning behind the story.) He is also a supporter of women`s ordination, and this has landed him in hot water with both the Vatican and his religious order. The Maryknolls are asking him to recant his support for women`s ordination or face expulsion and laicization. He is refusing to do so.
I’ve built a comfy spot on the fence with the issue of women`s ordination in the church. I`ve tried to explain my middle-of-the-road approach in a previous blog post . Fr. Roy`s predicament illustrates the consequences that befall those who challenge the teachings in our Church. Fr. Roy also personifies the courage of the prophet who is not afraid to seek the truth in careful theological study and prayerful pondering. And prophets learn to rise above the fear in order to speak the truth.
Suddenly that spot on the fence has lost its comfort. My carefully rationalized moderation feels an awful lot like apathy – not the kind that comes from indifference, but the kind that comes from fear.
Roy Bourgeois is taking the fall for a belief that is quietly shared by many Catholic women and men today – lay, vowed religious and ordained. It is the belief in the holey-ness of the logic used in upholding a male-only priesthood. It is the belief that Jesus Christ preached a new and radical gospel of inclusiveness with equality and dignity for all.
If it was an earlier time in our history, the fires would be stoked for yet another human barbecue in the town square. Happily, we no longer torture and kill those who question the teachings of the church. But those who speak out what many of us believe in the quiet of our hearts, continue to suffer the consequences.
I`m off to San Antonio, Texas to talk Church with a great group of women. Many are long-time friends, and I look forward to joyous reunions and the promise of new friendships. An added bonus, for me, is leaving our lingering prairie winter for a few days of 30 C sunshine and some great Tex-Mex food!
This blog is all about the importance of dialogue, especially outside of your comfort zone. Dialogue is important in all aspects of life from politics to religion. These are no longer topics to avoid in polite conversation. They are topics that must be discussed, in a respectful and civil manner, for they affect all aspects of our lives. And, it`s not always easy.
This is why we all need time to spend with kindred spirits and soul friends. Time to share our journeys, and support each other in the struggles. Time to dream dreams together, knowing we have a common vision. Time when an abundance of explanatory words aren`t needed, for there is mutual understanding. Time for wine to flow and stories to be shared.
I`m not sure how much time I`ll have for this blog while I`m gone. But I`m sure that I`ll have lots to write about when I do.
To all who take the time to visit…thanks!
Peace and blessings to all….
Preaching a gospel of abundance is an easy draw for filling the pews. It goes something like this…
If you are a good and faithful Christian and give regularly and generously to your church, then God will reward you with material wealth and success. Wealth, in fact, is a sign of a good Christian. Hence, the financial success and rich life-style of a preacher merely affirms his or her faithfulness.
Perhaps if we heard this message from our priests, we’d have more Catholics in the pews. In fact, in many developing countries we’re losing ground to our evangelical sisters and brothers in the convert contests. Become a Christian in our congregation and you’ll have wealth and success. Or, become a Catholic and prayerfully unite your poverty and suffering with Christ. Tough choice!
The Catholic Church isn’t immune to preaching this gospel of abundance. Many years ago, a speaker in our parish promoted tithing to help fund the annual bishop’s appeal. He spoke passionately about the financial miracles that he experienced through tithing, especially when it meant a hardship for his family. To me, it sounded like a form of Catholic Karma. Give until it hurts, and it will return to you -overflowing. The fact that he was addressing many struggling farm families angered me even more. Needless to say, there were few tithers in our parish.
Catholics are known for being miserly with the Sunday collection plate. We are generous with giving to those in need. And, we will pay for the necessary expenses of our parish. But many of us are no longer willing to pay for opulent buildings and the rich life-styles of some church leaders.
The sieve of logic behind the gospel of abundance is obvious and easily disputed. It is wrong to coerce money from others with empty promises of wealth and happiness. It is even more morally despicable to do so from those who have little or no disposable income.
But it is also wrong to preach that poverty should be accepted as God’s will. Poverty is an evil that must be eradicated by an equitable sharing of resources globally and locally. This is the miracle that we need, not the empty promises of charismatic, millionaire preachers.