Thursday, March 10, 2011

Joan Chittester on Wisconsin and Middle East: It's about Including Everyone in the Discussion

Joan Chittister, with her accustomed holy insight, talking about the parallels between Wisconsin and the Middle East, and about the collapse of participatory structures in both church and state when anyone is excluded from the conversation that builds those structures:

If something isn't done in all institutions -- in both state and church, church and state -- to include people in the discussion of the questions that affect them, in the real resolution of the issues that touch their own lives, the problem won't be national unrest, it will be global unrest and this time there will be no institution large enough either to suppress it or to survive it. Then what?

And that's precisely why I keep calling for a national dialogue in the U.S. Catholic church, in which everyone will finally have a voice at the table, including the thousands and thousands who have walked away in recent years.  And the gays and lesbians.  And people of color and Latinos.  And women.  And, above all, survivors of clerical sexual abuse.  (And it's why I strongly object to the proposal that if you want to learn what American Catholicism is all about, you need to go to Rome.)

If an institution is tumbling to the ground--and the Catholic church is decidedly doing that--you can't rebuild it without including every voice that should always have been at the table all along.  Not if you want the rebuilding to be effective.

And not if you want to call the church Christ's church.

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