Monday, June 4, 2012


Pope John XXIII who dared open the doors and windows of the church he loved to the contemporary world

My church has blessed me bountifully.  I’ve grown up with the grace of reciting Latin at mass as an altar boy.  The first 12 years of my education I was well taught by the nuns, Dominicans and IHMs. Then there was the inspiration of Spanish-speaking activist-for-the-poor priests commissioned by the Detroit diocese at the time of Vatican II, to renew the face of the church, making it open to brothers and sisters all. 

Archbishop Romero - Martyr - El Salvador

We have begun to move away from Blessed Pope John the XXIII’s {feast day yesterday} humble opening of the church’s windows and doors out to embrace God’s living presence in the people’s of the world's gentle breeze from all four corners.  “Pacem en Terris” – the way of salvation is open to all, and depends on the haves embracing the have-nots in common dignity, mercy and justice—following Jesus’ mandate to do something personal and direct for the least among us—as equals.  From the “preferential option for the poor,” our church begins to follow society’s contrary mandate—“The Lord helps them who help themselves.”  Inequality enshrined.  Darwinian spirituality.
 certain meanness ensues.  In a parish bulletin column entitled Formation of Conscience, an area Catholic church {not Holy Trinity} reprinted an article, Illinois Bishop: Obama 'intent on following a similar path' as Hitler, Stalin.  Our first black president is painted as in the company of recent history's most diabolical leaders.   I've been interested in politics since Eisenhower,  and never heard such calumny of any previous president in my Catholic church.
We find ourselves in league with powerful politicians like Paul Ryan * who claim to represent our faith by working against Obamacare and some of its morally problematic mandates, while pushing federal budget measures that further impoverish the disadvantaged, yet ask no sacrifice from the wealthy.  [And as for Obamacare, it does cover the poor as never before, and does not cover surgical abortions as do all the other major private health insurance companies most of us are insured by.]**  The temple of Wall Street replaces the temple of the Holy Spirit mercifully alive in each one of us, and our living Holy Trinity [feast also celebrated yesterday].

This is My Body.  This is My Blood.  Where is my church?  We’ve come in my lifetime from a time of true devout individual sanctity in the 1950’s, to sharing Eucharist as a Kumbaya community and a cup of water given freely to the needy, on through to the Gospel mature recognition of the just rights and dignity of the poor and least among us.   Now church leadership and many amongst us seem to stumble:  

·         investigating religious women who’ve taken on the challenge of serving all with justice

·         troubling over minute liturgical language changes that still often ignore the female gender

·         erring on the side of male clergy in cases of child abuse, in some measure pressured by the shortage of male clergy vocations

·         ignoring our unjust wars [while continuing to tolerate a never-ending excess of first fruits of our tax dollars to kill reputed terrorists and their families in remote villages, build high our borders, and keep our war machine on top of every aspect of our international interests]

·         supporting those who would balance our national budget on the backs of the poor and middle class while favoring the position of the most wealthy among us

·         pretending that some national leaders respect life more than others while rates of abortion, and war expenditure, proceed unchecked irrespective of political party in charge.

I go to mass often, much more than Sundays, seeking the spiritual nourishment that meeting-becoming one with, the Creator and Savior of the world in Scripture and Eucharist, can give me.  Most of my life, with some lapses, it’s been this way.  I find gentle, merciful faithful people there, from opposing political backgrounds.  Our God brings us together, and commissions us to teach all peoples everything that Jesus has taught us.  Red and blue we worship in the same pew, and this leads often to deepened respect for each other, and deepened understanding of the truly radical call of the Gospel to unconditionally love both friend and enemy.  My church {esp. Holy Trinity parish} is right here, and the world cannot prevail against it--but clever powerful elements will certainly try to divide and conquer.

** See a previous entry --

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

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