Monday, May 13, 2013

Something's Not Right, But...

Something's not right when a parish becomes popular because it has short, quick Masses. If religion is simply fulfilling obligations, it may make sense to get to Mass and "get it over with." If religion is an intimate relationship with God, hurrying through Mass is rude and counter-productive.

Something's wrong when the Church lacks sufficient priests to meet the needs of the people, and the leadership's only response to this shortage is to encourage more prayers for more vocations. Maybe leaders need to take another look at how God calls people.

Something's misguided when ordination to the episcopacy is a reward or an honor given to a man because of the office he holds. Bishops are successors of the apostles, and as such they are ordained not for themselves but for the people of God. The custom of assigning a newly ordained bishop to an imaginary diocese proves the point.

Something's out of balance when Cardinal Jozef Suenens of Belgium must ask his fellow bishops at the Second Vatican Council, "Why are we even discussing the reality of the church when half the church is not even represented here?" His observation led to inviting women to be present as auditors at the final two sessions.

Something's amiss when an ecumenical council directs that "the rite of the Mass is to be revised...the rites are to be which were lost through the vicissitudes of history are to be restored" and then a later pope decides to open the door to using the old rite anyway.

But something’s very reassuring when the cardinals of the Church elect a man to the papacy who is humble, pastoral, and not afraid. A real shepherd!

Something’s encouraging when the new pope selects Church leaders from around the world to help him in assessing the Church’s bureaucracy. Reform of the Curia is probable.

Something good is happening when the pope meets with the leadership of women religious, encouraging them to be of service to God’s people. The door to dialog is open.

Something’s back on track when signs of poverty and simplicity rather than wealth and pomp mark the life and lifestyle of the vicar of St. Peter. Pope Francis is challenging the mindset of many Church members as well as critics.

Something’s bringing hope and new life to the Church when Protestants declare themselves “very optimistic” about Pope Francis at the Protestant Kirkentag (the 34th annual gathering) held in Munich May 1-5.

Something good is happening in the Catholic Church as we observe the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II –perhaps another Pentecost moment when the people of God will be inspired all over again to bring the Gospel into the world. Let us pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit!

1 comment:

  1. Fr. Norm, I just stumbled across your blog and want to thank you for your good words. I'm from Cincinnati but living in Maine the past 11 years. Always nice to be connected again to people in my hometown. Peace and all good, Patricia Long