The challenges of being a Catholic today

To be more humble

Retired Bishop Pat Power hopes that the Catholic Church will be a more human Church, a more humble Church, and a Church which is more intent on reflecting the person and the teaching of Jesus.

- The Good Oil

Hardly a day goes by without some form of adverse media criticism being levelled at the Church or some of its members. Sometimes the criticism is vitriolic, unfair and replete with half-truths. At other times, I must admit, it is totally justified.

It hurts me deeply to see the family of God which is meant to be a source of goodness and grace portrayed as a repository of evil. Much of the current negative publicity flows from the Royal Commission and other inquiries into institutional sexual abuse. Can such public discussion be an opportunity for the Church to endorse reforms needed for it to become its best self?

For nearly 20 years, I have spoken and written of my hopes for our Church which I have seen to be much in need of reform at many levels. Among those hopes are that we will be a more human Church, a humbler Church and a Church which is more intent on reflecting the person and the teaching of Jesus.

In the 18 months since his election, Pope Francis has demonstrated simply and forcefully those Christ-like qualities which the whole Church needs to embrace. He has walked away from pomp and ceremony and the triumphalism which has previously distracted from what should have been the true mission of the Church. He tells pastors that they need to be at home with “the smell of the sheep."

The Holy Thursday ceremony of the washing of the feet has been for Pope Francis more than symbolic as he has included women who were previously excluded, as well as embracing Muslims, prisoners, and disabled people. He has spoken out unambiguously of the horror and criminality of sexual abuse in every form, especially within the ranks of the Church. He has called on us to be a “poor Church for the poor.”

Much of the criticism of the Church these days is sharpened by the fact that in the past its teaching on sexuality was so negative and unbalanced. This was exacerbated by the fact that it was articulated exclusively by men removed from the realities of intimacy and family life.

FULL STORY Being a Catholic today (The Good Oil)


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