Thursday, 12 November 2009

on Church and an examine of conscience

The recent (Nov. 10,2009)  editorial by the National Catholic Reporter, 'Nostalgia is not a path to the future'  highlights the ongoing struggle between conservatives and progressives within the Catholic Church [and other faiths] by quickly identifying its primary source. The article goes on to say that church leadership “have worked quietly yet assiduously during the past 40 years to roll back what has been accomplished. The regression is usually couched in Orwellian churchspeak, which lavishes praise on the council even as its intentions are reversed. Or sometimes in this parallel universe the argument is made that nothing really happened during the gathering of the world’s bishops over a four-year period to redirect the church and its mission”.

Readers of this blog will be astounded if not angered by some of  the vindictive responses to this incisive article submitted by a host of NCR readers. While it is doubtful that the Vatican will quickly succumb to the pressure for change it cannot continue on its present course to reverse or rewrite history. From a lay point of view, we can also no longer remain in denial about the struggle within the institution. Almost daily we are confronted by ethical and moral issues that deeply affect our spiritual and secular lives. While we may remain divided over the path that the Church must take into the future, we must also consider the ‘bigger picture’ of how we need to relate to our neighbour in our multi religious community. As God clearly offered salvation to all humankind, we too must respond in kind to those he places in our path. Accordingly, perhaps we could entertain a more inclusive view of religion by reflecting on the following examine of conscience:

• Have I failed to look for God outside my religious institution?

• Have I put the institution, along with its dogma and doctrine ahead of my heart?

• Have I sincerely tried to find God and neighbour outside my church?

• Have I allowed church dogma and doctrine to become instruments of division?

• Have I engaged in persecution of others to defend my faith?

• Have I created a dependency on church leaders rather than on God?

• Have I forgiven people of other faiths and denominations?

• Have I accepted that the Truth ultimately exists only in my heart rather than on paper?

• Have I honoured my ego above the God given True Self?

• Have I practised my faith outside my religious community?

• Have I accused others of failing to accept my definition of faith?

• Have I accepted that the only person I can change is me?

• Has my faith grown over the past few years, along with my capacity to forgive, understand, heal, and listen?

• Have I accepted that God’s salvation is extended to all humankind?

• Have I accepted that God is more interested in my potential than my wrongdoings?

A Church retreating into the past cannot hope to be a secure structure in the present or offer a promise for tomorrow.

No comments: