01
Apr
09

Outraged…but what do we do?

Last night at our monthly faith-sharing group we wrapped up discussion of  Tomorrow’s Catholic by Michael Morwood, MSC.  The last chapter is entitled Leadership in a New Millennium.  I shared my recent anger and frustration with the Catholic Church–ranging from injustices at our local parish to the Pope’s recent visit to Africa.  Pope Benedict’s statements in Kenya proscribing condom use against HIV/Aids sparked an energetic discussion about what we CAN do as lay members of a Catholic parish and the Roman Catholic Church.

It was a fascinating discussion frustrated by the lack of infrastructure in the church for parishioners to really do anything.  I stated that in my life I have participated in marches and protests, been arrested repeatedly for civil disobedience and generally been an activist for peace and social justice issues.  Yet, right here in my church, in the face of terrible and continuing injustice, I act impotent.  I do not pickup a placard.  I do not walk out.  I do not march or disobey.  As our Archbishop of Portland has said personally and publicly to those who are unhappy, “Maybe you belong somewhere else.”

No.  He says this as though it were his church.  As do many pastors when they censure us for “inflammatory” statements or “inappropriate” questions.  But this is not their church.

In that last chapter of Morwood’s, he quotes St. Augustine in regards to communion, in regards to the Body of Christ:

If you want to understand the body of Christ, listen to the apostle telling the faithful,
“You, though, are the body of Christ and its members,
it’s the mystery meaning you that has been placed on the Lord’s table;
What you recieve is the mystery that means you.
It is to what you are that you reply “Amen” and by so replying you express your assent.
What you hear is “the Body of Christ” and you answer “Amen.”
So be a member of the body of Christ in order to make that “Amen” true. 

I would also refer you to the Ring Story for yet another concept of what Eucharist is.

As we talked about our church it was clear that we all shared both a frustration with our ability to “move” the church and to find a constructive, effective outlet for our concerns.  We wondered if other faith-sharing groups shared our frustration and we promised to check, locally, to see if they do.  Beyond that we talked about new ways to remain part of our Eucharistic community while “breaking open the word” together as a small group.

I promised to put otgether a letter or petition of some sort to express to the leaders in Kenya that there are American Catholics who do not agree with Pope Benedict on his condom proscription.  That petition is now online and I encourage you to sign it.  There is also a new website, www.CatholicOutrage.com, which will chronicle local and global church issues with reports and commentary from all points of view.  Please feel free to add to this dialogue by commenting here and by adding your comments to the CatholicOutrage site.

I know I promised to write next about Catholic education.  But I’m still collecting research on enrollment, scholarships and effects on public schools.

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3 Responses to “Outraged…but what do we do?”


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