Friday, January 16, 2015

Tom Reese on Not Hinging Everything on the Pope: "There Is No Room in the Church for Passive Observers" — My Response

Pope Francis's fellow Jesuit Father Tom Reese writes in the National Catholic Reporter this morming about how the Catholic church is more than the pope, and how Catholics deceive themselves when they place all their hopes and dreams for their church on the shoulders of the pope. He concludes,

Francis has given us hope and shown us the way, but it is up to us to pick up the ball and run with it. There is no room in the church for passive observers; we are all called to be the body of Christ active in our world today. That means participating in or supporting parish programs for liturgical music, hospitality, continuing education, Scripture discussion, youth ministry, and social justice, to mention just a few. 
Francis' desire for a "poor church for the poor" or for the church to be a "field hospital" has to be incarnated at the parish level or it will not happen at all. 

I think this analysis is correct. It's valuable. But, to point to what I have just posted this morning, I'd add this to the discussion: some Catholics have been made "passive observers" by the church itself. We have no choice about being passive observers.

We've been thrown away by the church.

And that process of being thrown away appears frequently never to have been noted by our fellow Catholics at the liberal end of the spectrum, who have great influence in the Catholic academy, in the Catholic media, in various Catholic institutions — and whose voices might have made a huge difference in the lives of all of us thrown away by the church in recent years.

If those voices had been uplifted in our support, every time another one of us has gotten thrown away . . . .

The photo of Father Tom Reese is from his biographical page at NCR.

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