Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reform? Really?

For the past few months I have watched a website evolve and have refrained from commenting here on its' content--until now.
I comment because it is loaded with layers upon layers of spiritual stuff...

It appears to have been born out of a person's (or people') desire to question decisions that a diocese was making concerning parish/school closures, relationships with a religious community, and clergy decisions/lifestyles/communications.
"Great." I thought (no really, I was pretty cool with it).  "The pot is getting stirred, questions asked, and feelings and thoughts are being shared."  Usually when decisions are made from any administration they are abrupt and the person/people affected are left alone to pack their belongs in the box and be ushered out.  I recall one time when the CEO of the company shared the pink slips at our staff Christmas lunch!

Right--there is never an easy way to usher in the hard decisions and pending change--never.  But there are ways that can allow for healing (more on that later).

Christ brought about change--the conquering of eternal death--- through the cross and resurrection--IT IS NEVER EASY.

Back to the website--It was tackling a lot of stuff, and, on occasion I would take a glimpse, reading the letters from disaffected and hurt parishioners, teachers, and other laity.  I found myself hoping that some sort of 'healing' would be initiated by some party--but it never came.  It was a mess and it reflected a very dark time.

Now, anyone who knows me (or this little blog) is aware that I am obviously in favor of reform and renewal.  Of course I didn't expect the diocese or anyone working in the administration of the diocese to respond to the reform website's call for action and dialogue--but I would bet that a few were giving it a glance (perhaps a 'search' could be performed on all diocesan personnel's computers!)

I wanted 'reform'.  I always did and I always will.
After all, I once left the Church.  Not only because I was a priest who fell in love and left--but also because the reform I wanted wasn't happening.  And, when my wife and I began our new life together we chose not to be part of a Faith and Church that we felt had no room for us.

I left and soon incurred an excommunication.
Then, for years, I preached against the Roman Catholic Church--especially its polity.  When I was given the opportunity I shared my thoughts freely.  From bishops, to ex-brother priests, to clerical lifestyles and abuses. I calumniated.

I stood and threw stones.  It felt good.
Guess what?
Nothing changed.
My pointing out faults did nothing to bring about anything.  

As a therapist I would, on occasion, move away from a 'strength based approach' to pointing out a fault--usually out of frustration or thinking that the person just needed a dose of truth.
Whether it is true or not doesn't matter--their response usually was either defensive or denial. 

This website is pointing out the faults--probably because they have no other way to share their pain.
They have coined the term catholic watchdog.
I recall a celebrity priest a few years ago--he started a site called black sheep dog.
Sadly this website seems to be going down a path that makes me now question its credibility.

The cloak of anonymity, while it worked during pre-revolutionary America, does nothing for the credibility of the website and even diminishes those good people who offer their insights and opinions.
Recently a priest responded to the website, raising some valid points, and stirring the pot.
I've read what the website shares as information about and from him and what the priest himself shares on his website and there are discrepancies.

How unfortunate, because I really had hoped that the website would offer an unbiased approach.  I would love to see reform in the lives and lifestyles of the clergy AS WELL as the laity.  I would love for egos to diminish and selfless loving to take over.  We've all experienced the ego-centered priest tyrant AS WELL as the stubborn lay person who thwarts every effort of true faith and worship.  We've all experienced distrust in the clergy who promote their own personality cult AS WELL as gossip and rumors from the laity (by the way I use strong words for priest and laity because I, at different times behaved that way).

So, back to my standing and throwing stones--I eventually dropped the stone AFTER I was knocked down off my horse.  The Blessed Mother then picked me up and put my hand in her Son's.  It was a long road back home to the Roman Catholic Faith.  And when I returned--guess what--nothing changed!  The same stuff was still happening and satan was still attacking.

But there is a way...

 Attention reform website, laity, priests and bishops---Do you really want reform???Then do what Our Mother told us to do.

Go to CONFESSION (ALOT), RECEIVE HOLY EUCHARIST, REALLY READ HOLY SCRIPTURE, PRAY (MORE THAN YOU TEXT OR USE THE INTERNET), and FAST (don't give me this 'fasting from something'--nope true fasting--bread, water)

There is your reform.  There is your way out of the darkness and chaos....and oh, be nice.