I like to wonder a bit – just to let the imagination take over and wonder about both the intended and the unintended consequences if certain decisions were to be put in place. Wondering can be entertaining, filled with new possibilities or adventures as we walk the human journey together. Obviously, wondering can lead to fear and trepidation; to the desire to go hide in a dark cave also. We see a lot of that these days. Fear of remaining where we are and fear of change lead to gridlock – or at least it seems that way. But – I wonder??
Is it possible that what seems like chaos and doom is really a sign of a significant shift that is taking place right under our noses? I think that the times of the greatest stress and fear are also the times of the greatest change and letting go of the old so that the new can be born – a death and resurrection moment. Creation is constantly moving and transforming the universe – which includes our little planet located in our little galaxy and this has been going on for billions of years, Life and consciousness have been a constant process of development, and we kick and scream, at times holding our breath, having a temper tantrum when our lives our turned upside down.
I wonder what would happen to our world if the Catholic Church decided that change was not only inevitable, but necessary. Just maybe we need to examine carefully the structure and mission of this community. What would happen if we let go of our patriarchal oligarchy, comprised of celibate males, modeled on the pyramid? What if we saw ourselves as a circle, with Christ as the center – and that all of the members of this community had a voice. What would happen do you think, if priests were married? Would we survive? On a more extreme level, what would happen if women were ordained as deacons, priests and bishops? Would we collapse? What might happen if we moved away from Rome as the center – or perhaps Rome could be the center, but not the power base as much as the center for service and concern not just for Catholics, but for everyone?
It might be interesting if the meeting that is scheduled in Rome this coming February, might put in place a structure to at least examine these questions. This process might even include men and women from around the world, celebrating the diversity of life and cultures. What if Cardinals included both married and single men and women to study the human issues and struggles that take place in our confusing world. How would we look at liturgy, contemplation, our environment, sexuality, and a wide spread of life and death issues – while examining the life and actions of Jesus – a Jewish Rabbi, walking around, challenging authority, and speaking and acting in a loving way to all of suffering humanity. How might we work toward being a more welcoming and inclusive community together? How might we work for a positive approach, bring life where we move, rather than one of fear?
There is an old saying that within the Church, the only role of the laity has is the duty to pray, pay and obey. It has also been said, that the only role of women is to produce children – and to clean the sacristy and their homes. We have at times been addicted to a patriarchal church, with certain signs of royalty. In many cases, it seems as if the highest virtue that we might aspire to is that of blind obedience to those in power. This structure of power also seems to be self-perpetuating, the result of politics and obedience. It also smacks of royalty – with the people of God having no active or passive voice. Everything is decided from on high. It might be possible that we have over the centuries continued to honor a structure that is sick – that is filled with corruption? There is some truth in the old adage, “Power corrupts – absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
In all of this, as so often happens when we are in the middle of a major shift or transformation – we tend to panic a bit. We like to think that we are treating the patient, but all we wind up doing is treating the symptoms while the patient dies of an illness much deeper than observed on the surface. We are watching the patient die, with little or no interest in changing the environment that creates the illness in the first place or to even ask the questions that might point beyond and give life instead.
I am just wondering what might happen if at the meeting in Rome this year, they might suggest opening up the discussion and becoming inclusive. Admitting the disease that we have deep within us and seeking new life – letting the old die and then to experience the Resurrection moment – and letting the Sophia – the Spirit lead the way. Christ is alive within us and one with us; we are one with the Christ – the Anointed One. We can walk on water and move mountains as soon as we, the entire community decides that we are all called to proclaim the good news. The bishops or priests are not responsible for the lives of others – they are responsible for their own lives as are we all. Just maybe we are at a moment when we begin to become adults together and to assume common responsibility for our world for for healing the wounded, feeding the hungry and walking with each other as brothers and sisters. We are all called to recognize that Spirit of the Christ within the entire community to look outside of itself and to bring life where there is death; to bring light where there is darkness. We are called to actively participate in life giving, each in his or her own way, while at the same time, part of a larger community.
I am just wondering? Maybe we could wonder together in our wanderings – as viatorians or pilgrims on the way???
And then again I wonder, are we as a nation or even the world beginning to experience a radical shift – a transformation with globalization, Artificial Intelligence, Instant communication and shifting populations along with the Environmental Issues such as Global Warming? Just Wondering. Are we finally becoming aware of the great gifts that we bring to the table and that we receive from the table. We are called to move away from the T.V. and the internet and get busy in reflecting on the gifts that we are and then sharing them with a generous heart in healing and nourishing; in giving life wherever we walk.