Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is a Roman Catholic Revolution needed?

The pastor at Boston's St Cecilia Church preached a sermon calling on the Church of Rome to practice the love of Jesus and welcome those who are oppressed, particularly gay and lesbian folks. One of Boston's auxiliary bishops was present as the Archdiocese had told Fr John not to hold an "All Are Welcome" liturgy in honor of Pride Month.  Here is the story and a video:

The Church just celebrated Pentecost; the Holy Spirit certainly took hold of Fr John! The scowling bishop in the background most likely chewed the good padre a new one off camera, attempting to enforce the dysfunctional party line, where clergy are treated like children and lay folks to do whatever the hierarchy says.How much degradation will the People of God take?  


Voices like Fr John's are being raised all over, such as at the American Catholic Council held this past weekend in Detroit. More than anything, I would like Spring to truly dawn in the Roman Catholic Church here in America for the many I love who are still members of my former communion. It will take nothing short of a revolution to do it; I am not holding my breath. Who knows?

But what prevents folks from exploring a group like the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, for example? It's fully Catholic, celebrating the seven sacraments and has Apostolic Succession. Clergy are either married/partnered or single, gay or lesbian, men or women. The laity has a strong voice in the democratic administration of the Communion. There are Religious Orders. Members are committed to justice and peace. It's growing. Parishes aren't without the Eucharist because they have clergy to preside. Seems that everything for which the American Catholic Council calls already exists here so what holds folks back?

Could it be, as a dear friend has observed, that many of us who grew up Roman Catholic, believe deep down what we were taught that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true faith? Many progressive RC's protest and say "no," but I think my friend is spot on. I don't say this to disrespect my Roman Catholic friends who embody Christ in their ministries, but just to point out that not all Catholics are Roman and that viable alternatives to the Roman Church exist which are fully Catholic.

I am not naive enough to think that there will be a mass exodus to the Episcopal Church. I, personally, have been blessed with a fantastic growing parish, with wonderful clergy and liturgy, not to mention a fantastic bishop. Many of us who grew up Roman Catholic, myself included, have found a home as Episcopalians, but it's not for all.

So, is the revolution worth it to stay in Rome? Might it be better if people vote with their feet and move to another pew in the same Church, one where the hospitality of Jesus is lived and practiced throughout the organization? I will not presume to answer for others...


Stephen Taylor said...

Dear brother, I feel your pain and hear your call for options. I was an Episcopalian for thirty-five years and in 1979 saw the ECUSA split over the prayerbook, then when they voted to uphold the consecration of Eugene Robinson as Bishop I saw an already splintered Church split yet again. That was the end for me. The split over the prayerbook I could see as reluctance to make liturgical change which is absolutely necessary in any Church, but the issue of gay/lesbian priests and bishops did not seem to be to have been prayerfully considered.

I support gay priests, but I do not support splintering the Body of Christ to fit a social agenda. I stayed as an Episcopalian for several years after the split had come, and finally realized that I was no longer hearing sermons about Jesus or the way of salvation, what I heard again and again was polarization and one side calling the other guilty.

I converted to the Roman Catholic Church because while I do not agree with all her teachings, I do know where the Church stands. The Holy Spirit must be the start of any change in the Church, and the ECUSA went ahead with the social agenda knowing it would split the Church right down the middle, and it did.

I care about you and all people in Christ's Church, but we are to be building up the body and not splitting it again and again. So we shall in Christian love agree to disagree. I am not writing a condemnation for I would dearly love to see Gay people treated as everyone else, and am heart sick of all this poking into people's bedrooms.

Time brings all things brother. With Love of Christ, yours, Stephen.

Br. Yossi, CoS Cam said...

Blessings of gratitude, Stephen. Beautifully said, which is why I say that most RC's would not be comfortable in the Episcopal Church. We tend to be all over the place, at times, and, yes, fractured.

In the case of the ECC, they stand within the Catholic Church, so to me it wouldn't be a splintering of the Church to join them.

Know, however, that I respect your opinion deeply and that of those who choose to remain where they are, and those who choose the other pew in the same Church. Our Baptism makes us one...

Stephen Taylor said...

Who is so great as our God? What a blessing!

Br. Yossi, CoS Cam said...

Amen, my brother!