Craig’s Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent
Several of you have asked me about recent press releases pertaining to church teaching. So I’m going to share with you an email that I sent as a response to one of these concerns. There are more than one issue that people struggle with. This is about one of them but I could have given the same response to others.
Thank you for your concerns. Over the years I’ve read many press releases about statements from the church that I disagree with. I have later learned that some of them weren’t accurate and that some of them didn’t actually say what they appeared to say. And that some of them did say exactly what they appeared to say. I have been tempted on more than one occasion to go elsewhere. I can give you my reasons for staying.
First as something of an amateur church historian, I can tell you any number of statements by Popes, bishops and councils that leaders in our church today would cringe to hear repeated. Statements that defended slavery, statements about women and their roles in the world, even a papal bull that granted European nations the right to go to Africa and the Americas. Enslave their people, steal their land and goods. Their very lives. Anyone who would deny that the church has made mistakes in the past, simply doesn’t understand history. Given all that, the church has changed on all of those issues. Slowly ever so slowly but as mentioned in the Lenten devotional, a poem by Rev. Sarah Are said “the Spirit slows her dance when we stand at the edge of Truth.” God’s awesome Grace is revealed. Pope Francis has made many statements about the dignity and the need for respect for lesbian, gay, transsexual and other marginalized vulnerable people.
I am going to attach a link to a statement by Father Martin, S.J. and a link to a statement released by Cardinal Cupich, the former Bishop of Spokane.
Many years ago, my spiritual director, a Providence Sister, encouraged me to continue to study for the diaconate even though I had some serious concerns about not only the diaconate but also the way the Church treated women in ministry and other ethical issues. She simply stated that if people who thought like me all left the church, then it would never change. And it does change led by the spirit”s dance. It is the spirit who is infallible. We believe that when we gather together, even two or three, Jesus is present in our midst. Then when we share and listen we can discern the Spirits dance. It does slow as Grace is revealed because truth cannot be forced down people’s throats. First we have to see and believe then we need to share and teach and finally others will come to also share and believe.
One final thought, it is the church’s mission to bless the sinful, the broken hearted, those with broken lives. No one could be baptized if they weren’t a sinner first. No one could receive absolution without first acknowledging brokenness, and the very symbol of Eucharist is body broken, blood poured out for the other. St Paul said that Jesus became sin for us. In other words Jesus became broken so that our brokenness could be healed. I hope this has been helpful, hang in there. Blessings for you and yours.
Link to Cardinal Cupich statement:
Link to Father Martin statement:
Very truly I tell you unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies it remains just a single grain, but if it dies it bears much fruit.