I am Catholic
John Chuchman, New Catholic Times, June 7th, 2010
I am Catholic, I will remain Catholic, though not in the sense I have been Catholic, and not in the sense the hierarchs would like. I'll ever be Catholic in an inclusive and expanding sense, not in an exclusive and retracting mode.
In terms of the Institution's trinity of Behavior: to pay, pray, and obey, the hierarchy would say I have two and half strikes against me: I support my parish, but refuse to donate to any diocesan campaign, (I need no middle-men for my donating, especially ones I do not trust) I pray - more than ever - but not in some prescribed formulas, rather in how I live and dialogue with my God; I refuse to obey the hierarchy's self-serving rules and regulations, preferring instead to abide by the true original meaning of the word
To obey: To Listen Well.
I don't think I need to find a home in another Faith, though I now respect them all more than ever, and not as defective religions, so called by the Vatican. No religion is without problems, no human institution is perfect.
Catholic hierarchy has been guilty of many sins, including being money driven, being hypocritical about celibacy, conducting murderous Crusades and Inquisitions, persecuting witches-and nuns--and anyone else who disagrees, abusing children (and protecting the abusers) etc., etc., etc., but we are humans who often fail.
Even when these sins, institutionalized, and elaborately committed and skillfully covered up, are admitted, the apologies and repentance, are seldom adequate.
But some sins, like the hierarchy's discrimination and abuse of women, are not acknowledged, but instead, justified over and over as tradition, and even dogma.
One can lose status within the institutional church for just discussing the ordination of women, perhaps even for just thinking about it.
I will not accept the claim that gender determines who can represent Jesus at the altar.
Women of depth, faith, wisdom, compassion, sense of humor, experience, and Love, cannot be excluded from ordained priesthood because they have not an external male appendage.
Jesus was circumcised, So Peter and Paul had to openly discuss if all future baptized males had to follow suit. Did they make that practice, which had been tradition, unchangeable?
Their final decision was Not to do slavishly whatever had been done in the past, but to adapt to the very different sensibilities of the newest converts to Christianity, to the people of the current time.
Jesus left us with principles that he applied and expects me to apply with intelligence and creativity in whatever time and place I find myself.
All the pompous verbiage and ethereal images of the Eucharist as a nuptial banquet with a male priest the only possible stand-in for Jesus, have nothing at all to do with Jesus' life and message of Love, Integrity, Inclusiveness, and Justice. But then, the image of males as the spiritual authorities translates into full control of the purse strings of one of the world's oldest and wealthiest institutions. How so? Making God male, makes males gods.
What is the theological support for the non-transparency/non-accountability of the hierarchs?
I realize that ordaining women into the present closed corrupt system, will not of itself fix the institution. It is simply a matter of Justice. How can a church preach Social Justice, while not practicing it?
So, the One, Holy Catholic, Apostolic Church I espouse is One, not in structure or practice, but One in Love and Compassion as exhibited by Jesus; Holy, not in common external pieties, but Holy in the pursuit of Inner Spiritual Growth; Catholic, not in being members of some universal organization, but Catholic in being willing to reach out to help all peoples; Apostolic, not in physical lineage to the Apostles, but Apostolic by Living in the Spirit as bestowed on them.
The hierarchy's Catholic Church which discriminates and excludes people
failing to accept our diversity shrinks as they fail to construct their tower of Babel.
A True Catholic Faith, which is Inclusive of God-given diversity, will grow and expand.
Love, John Chuchman
For a new vision, see: Authority in the Catholic Church
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