I`m heading to Rome tomorrow morning. The past days have been awhirl with emails and reports, and the suitcase has yet to be packed. I hoped to write another blog post or two before I left, but the dual demon of time and energy got the best of me. Meanwhile, here`s a link to my last month`s column for the Prairie Messenger. It`s titled we need an adult church in which faith will grow.
Now, off to attack those suitcases!
VATCAN CITY — The Vatican said the death of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi marked the end of a “harsh and oppressive regime” that was based on power instead of human dignity.It expressed hope that the bloodshed would end in the North African country, and that the new Libyan government would open a rebuilding phase based on “a spirit of inclusion” and social justice.
via Vatican: Gadhafis death marks end of harsh and oppressive regime | National Catholic Reporter.
I can no longer stomach photos of Gadhafi; either the arrogant poses of the live dictator, or the gruesome, nauseating scenes of his death. The life and death of dictators reminds us of the troubling reality of their existence. Hussein, Bin Ladin and Gadhafi are now gone. How many remain? WHY and HOW do they remain in power when they are but one against the many?
How do the Hitlers and the Stalins of this world rise from often humble beginnings to such deadly and powerful heights? Eventually their power is held by brutality, impossible to challenge without risk of death. But somewhere in the early stages, someone had to be supporting their efforts. Not just someone, but many someones. Did these supporters recognize that moment when power became crazed? Is it possible that so many lacked the basic human virtues that require caring for those you lead, not impoverishing them? Not starving them? Not slaughtering them?
Whenever I grumble about some of our church leaders, my husband reminds me that we give them the power. While we may call their style dictatorial, there is no comparison with the blood-thirsty despots of the world. We have a voice and can use it to shout out when the emperor has no clothes or is just plain acting like a twit. Sure, there might be consequences but our lives are never at risk. We have much in our democratic society that we take for granted. And for those who are given much, much is expected in return.
“Mama,” she said suddenly, “why dont we have any girl priests at our church?”They looked at one another, dumbstruck, unprepared. Too late. There was nothing left to do now but be honest.”Because, darling,” the mother said, “our church doesnt allow girl priests.”The little girl pursed her lips and frowned. “Then why do we go there?” she demanded.
via Lack of women will irreversibly harm the church | National Catholic Reporter.
Joan Chittister doesn`t pull any punches in her writings. The powers that be have tried to silence her over the years, but she continues to speak out about injustices in the church and in the world. Her latest article in the National Catholic Reporter addresses the role of women in the church – a favored topic for this Benedictine Sister. And a topic that will not easily go away, to the dismay of more conservative souls.
The article is worth a read, but so is the ensuing discussion board. As usual, there are vocal supporters and naysayers. What is apparent is that many good women and men are struggling to remain in a male-centered church.
Another article, Anita Caspary, religious visionary, dies in Los Angeles, is a tribute to the woman who led The Immaculate Heart of Mary of California community to break canonical ties with the church in the post Vatican II days. This came as a result of increasing power struggles over the community’s reform efforts with then conservative Los Angles Cardinal James Frances McIntyre. The community “rejected a life pattern that had to conform to canons issued by male clerics of another culture.” In turn, they “recognized the role of authority as service and emphasized co-responsibility.”
To stay or go continues to be a question asked by many. It is a reality that must be faced with opportunities for open and honest dialogue. A judgmental and critical spirit towards questioners will certainly not convince them to stay.