“The Church challenges all its members, in different ways over different issues.” Just like Life Itself

“The Church challenges all its members, in different ways over different issues.” Just like Life Itself April 1, 2013

Two great reads for you as I head out to Adoration:

1) Sister Mary Ann Walsh hits a homerun as she observes the media going batshit crazy over basic Church teaching as though it’s all brand-new:

It amazes me when basic church teaching is received as if it were somethig brand new. This morning’s New York Times brought the latest example with the headline: “Dolan Says the Catholic Church Should Be More Welcoming to Gay People.” A glance at other media outlets finds similar news accounts. From the NBC website: “Cardinal Dolan: Church Must Embrace Gays, Lesbians.” Then from the NY Daily News: “‘Jesus died on the cross for them as much as He did for me’: Cardinal Dolan says church should not push away gays.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York created this media storm with basic pastoral comments on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and CBS’s “Face the Nation” with Bob Schieffer. Cardinal Dolan said the church is there for everyone.

I have two reactions.

1. The word “catholic” means all-encompasing, so how can people get the impression that the church is exclusionary? No one is carded at a Catholic Church. Shunning is not the Catholic tradition. Other news reports this week give homey examples of the church’s inclusionary nature. Ann Rodgers, a reporter from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was selected to carry olive braches in a Palm Sunday procession at the Vatican. Ann said she wasn’t Catholic, but that wasn’t a problem for orgnaizers at the Holy See. A few days afterwards, a Muslim girl in a Rome youth detention facility had her feet washed by Pope Francis at the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Her standing outside the fold was no problem for the papal advance men. To reiterate Cardinal Dolan’s point: Gays ae welcome in the church. So are divorced people. Heck, even in the rare instances that people are excommunicated, they’re still expected at Sunday Mass. Although some sects ban you from the property for violating their rules, the Cathoic Church still wants you in the pew.

2. More people have been excommunicated by their Aunt Minnie than by the church. Much of the media, and many Catholics, miss the fact that the Catholic Church is a church of mercy and forgiveness, and most of all, communion.

Read the whole thing, as Walsh articulates what many of us want to say — and what many, many more have said, throughout the ages. Now that we have a “popular” pope, perhaps people are more willing to hear, but really, why pretend it’s “new”?

2) A bittersweet chronicle of Holy Week that has nothing to do with gay marriage. It simply illustrates Sister’s point that yes — we’re all challenged over different issues.

When I was driving earlier, the kids were all sitting behind me writing notes on small pieces of paper and passing them back and forth. My daughter wrote a mean note to one of her brothers, which he swiftly reported to me. Her note was heartless, really, and without cause, so I asked her, “Why did you write that to him?”

There was silence from the backseat.

Then, after a few minutes had passed, my daughter handed me a note folded into a tiny little square. I unfolded it, and read in her writing; “I don’t know.”
“I have the same problem,” I said. “I am unkind, and I don’t know why.”

Read it all. Yes, it really is bitter, and it really is sweet.

We’re challenged — we’re all challenged. And the great challenge is the challenge to love, when love, ultimately means the sacrifice and surrender of your own self, your own will.

Yes, it’s really, really hard. But we keep stepping into the box and slugging away, with the help of grace. That’s what makes it great. Yes, I have baseball on the brain, today.

This is good, too.

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