The latest catholic dialogue column in the Prairie Messenger is titled Difficult conversations have a greater need for dialogue. It builds on a previous blog reflection on Sr. Pat Farrell’s strategy for dialogue as described in her presidential address to the LCWR Assembly in August.
I’m proud of the Prairie Messenger for its coverage of the ongoing story surrounding the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. One might wonder why a news journal from the Canadian prairies is so interested in what happens to an American organization of religious women. The Catholic Church extends far beyond our local parish walls, and the PM tries to give a fair and balanced coverage of local, national, and international church stories. The more we learn about each other, the more we can rejoice in shared gifts and support each other in our struggles.
The present situation between the bishops and the women of the LCWR is a microcosm of the bigger issues facing our church today. What are the roles of women and men in our church, whether vowed religious, ordained or lay? How do we address the tension that exists between an authoritarian, hierarchical style of leadership and deep seated beliefs in participatory leadership, equality and freedom of conscience? How do we begin to build the bridges across the ideological chasms that continue to divide liberals and conservatives, progressives and traditionalists?
I believe we have much to learn as we watch the drama unfold to the south of us. Dialogue is key. We can only pray that true, respectful dialogue will be possible.
Check out the August 29, 2012 issue of the Prairie Messenger for more LCWR commentaries and reports.