Becoming the Church We Wish to See

As the progeny of Vatican II, many of us are struggling with the attempts by the Opus Dei hierarchs to put the Vatican II reform genie back in the bottle. Conservative factions in the church are gloating over the New Missal and the “mystery” it restores to the Mass while progressives Vatican II types are chafing under yet another top-down power grab by the Pope and the Roman Curia. BTW the Curia has taken it upon itself to make numerous changes to what was approved by the American bishops.

There is light at the end of a deep dark tunnel. The first glimmer comes from today’s Gospel where Jesus restores sight to two blind men. I have been reading Peterson’s The Message version because it often is a breath of fresh air. What really struck me today was Jesus’ instruction to the men, “He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw.”

Become what you believe. In discussions about church today, people often tell us, “You are the church.” We tell one another, “We are the church.” We need to become what we believe!!!!

What do we believe? We believe that:

  • The pre-Vatican II view that the ordained are the church and we are members of the church is no longer valid. We the faithful—ordained and non-ordained—are the church. There are no second-class citizens in the Kindom. We must reclaim our rightful legacy.
  • We have a voice in becoming what Jesus is calling us to be as church. Vatican II conferred an infallibility on the people of God—the church. It is called sensus fidelium.
  • We by virtue of Baptism are priests, prophets, and kings.
  • Justice is about right relationships and that all the faithful are called to service in the church. We can no longer disenfranchise 50% of the people of God and call ourselves Christians.
  • The hierarchical leadership in the church is not about power and privilege but rather about humble service to the people of God.
  • Conscience is our primary guide to living the Gospel message. Conscience formed in a community will be conscience which is consistent with scripture and tradition. Like Cardinal Newman we first drink a toast to conscience and then a toast to the pope.
  • Doctrines which are not firmly grounded in scriptural authority have little claim to infallibility.
  • The church is first and foremost a community of believers united with one another in the power of the risen Jesus. Hierarchy is not divinely instituted as the governance model for the church. It is the last vestige of Romanism in the church.
  • Nonviolent dialogue is the tool for achieving our vision of church.
  • Liturgy is the key to church renewal and that we have a right to worship using a vernacular that speaks to us in the 21st century, not an arcane literal translation of Latin which only came into vogue in the 3rd century. Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Latin!
  • All people are welcome at the Table regardless of race, gender, class, or sexual orientation. Non Catholic believers are also welcome.

Yes, WE are the church. Now we need to get about the work of becoming what we believe. We are being called to become the church we wish to see. Come, Lord Jesus!

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