Many people have told me they never really considered staying inside and working to change the church (or any other unjust structure) rather than depart in despair. I hope we inspire folks to stay and work for positive change especially now that Catholics at least, have a Pope who is actively seeking change.
The above quote originated in a column by Sister Christine Schenk in the November 12, 2015 National Catholic Reporter. I found it in the Pax Christi’s Post, Tuesday, the same day I posted my reflection Rejected, on Chelsea Shield’s August 2015 TED Talk. Talk about synchronicity! Both tell of women’s struggle for equality in of all places their churches.
Rejected generated a great deal of discussion both on our site and on my Facebook page. I learned some new information. I now know what an EME is thanks to Terrance Wagner and I related to all the sharing, especially this one by Karen:
I’ve pretty much stopped attending the Catholic Church because I find so many of their teachings offensive. At the same time I am who I am today because of my Catholic upbringing. I’m conflicted. (Karen L.)
That’s a problem, exactly the problem I meant to address in my post and reiterated by a number of people in the discussion that followed. Sister Christine’s column cited above, gives me hope and suggests to me a very practical activity we can all do to address that problem and to open up our church, a process started by Saint Pope John XXIII and reintroduced with Pope Francis.
In her column, Sister Christine tells about the film Radical Grace, a documentary of the “‘nunquisition'”– the Vatican’s six year investigation of the U.S. sisters…” Sister Christine tells how surprised she was that the film has gotten worldwide recognition. The film’s producer, Nicole Bernardi-Reis told her “…the nuns are role models–not only their work but simply advocating for yourselves is a radical and affirming idea for women in many parts of the world.”
Wow! “Advocate for yourselves”. What a simple, doable action. What would that look like if we did it–what would we be advocating for? The same thing the Sister Christine is, i.e. we are the church.
“Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and traditional Anglican Christians traditionally believe that 1 Peter 2:9 gives responsibility to all believers for the preservation and propagation of the Gospel and the Church…” (Wikipedia)
We are the church, us little peons who give our weekly donations and who daily struggle to love our neighbor, raise our children and share the bounties we’ve received. Now you might think advocating for ourselves here is not necessary, but only if you didn’t read my and Sister Christine’s posts.
So here it is. Let’s inspire each other to stay and work for positive change in our church, “…especially now that Catholics at least, have a Pope who is actively seeking change”. We can start this process by watching Radical Grace. We missed the screening last week at the Gene Sickle Theatre here in Chicago, but the site for the film offers to help anyone interested in presenting their own screening. Let’s take up that offer for help and do it, plan a screening and discussion of the film Radical Grace.
Anyone interested in scheduling our own showing?
We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.