Wednesday, August 02, 2006

On the Other Hand

Just to clarify what I said in the previous post – there is no perfect church on earth. Joining ANY church at all (my own included) means accepting a certain set of strengths and weaknesses.

Also, I do believe in the power of prayer.

So, it is quite possible for a progressive Christian to feel called by God to be a Roman Catholic despite that denomination’s flaws, and there are certainly many, many holy people and many, many wonderful communities within it. Conversely, a conservative may be called to be in a more liberal denomination.

However – and this is my point – to do this requires ACCEPTING the flaws of that community. Basically, one must approach one’s church membership with the attitude of the Serenity Prayer – “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. The point of the previous post is that the women recently ordained are trying to change things they cannot change, and are expending a lot of wasted effort in the process.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

From my own perspective, raised a Roman Catholic, spending time in religious life and seminary, it was a difficult and costly decision to leave the Roman denomination of Christianity some 4 years ago.

There were many, especially among my LGBT friends who felt abandoned, lost, and forsaken by the Roman, and other Churches. I could have continued to attempt change from within, but progress over the last decades had reversed, in my estimation.

I left to embrace an independent Catholic jurisdiction where I could minister to those to whom I felt called. As an independent Catholic priest I have had the wonderful opportunity to minister to so many who have been marginalized by churches. None of which would have been possible had I not left the Roman denomination.

There are many women priests in our independent and anglican denominations who have helped heal gender exclusion for many years now. Their sacrifices and contributions can not be overlooked or devalued. Priesthood is not mean just for an individual, but also for a community. While hermit priests exist and serve a purpose, they are not the norm. There are so many who need the sacraments.

I commend these women on their intentions, but I too wonder if they are not missing a bigger opportunity to truly be Christ for those who may need them. There is an eletism that sometimes pervades the Roman Catholic thinking.

I know that we would welcome them with open arms and accepting hearts. In any event, may God be glorified and praised in their lives.

Joseph Augustine, AIHM
(Very Rev.) Joseph Augustine Menna, AIHM
Prior General
Augustinians of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
www.aihmfriars.org

St. Mary of grace Parish, Philadelphia
www.inclusivecatholics.org

The young fogey said...

We may not agree on some (well, many) issues but I agree that the perfect church is in heaven and, humanly speaking (not regarding faith or morals), not on earth!

Often in this weird post-modern, post-denominational world we find ourselves in, it's a matter of 'choosing your poison', that is, choosing the set of conscience problems you can best live with.

Good to see you online and I hope you stop my blog.

Regards to you and to Treat.

John Beeler

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