Friday, August 12, 2011

Archbishop Charles Chaput: Requirements for Real Reform in the Church

"...Bishops, priests, and deacons are too often weak and sinful. They need to be held to high standards. Some deserve to be chastised. The clergy’s leadership in the Church should always be marked by humility and service, and never by a sense of entitlement. But men and women didn’t found the Church, they don’t own her; and they have no license to reinvent her. The Church belongs to Jesus Christ, and the different roles with the Christian community – clergy, laity, and religious life – have equal dignity but different purposes. Sin and failure, including by the clergy, need to be named. But when people deride their bishops and priests out of pride and resentment or some perverse desire for they perceive as “power,” they undermine the Church herself, and they set themselves against the God whose vessel she is. And that, as Scripture suggests, leads in a painful direction.

"All real reform in the Church requires two things...Renewal begins not in vilifying others, but in examining ourselves honestly, repenting of our sins and changing ourselves. This applies to every baptized person, from the Pope to the average man or woman earning a wage. We are all sinners. We are all in need of repentance and God’s mercy. When we really understand that, we can speak to each other with both honesty and love, and restoring the mission of the Church can begin.

"Today’s Gospel gives us the second thing needed for any lasting reform: faith. Not faith as theology, or faith as a collection of doctrines and practices; but faith as a single-minded confidence in God; faith as the humility – and in a sense, the imprudence, the passion, the recklessness – to give ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ. That kind of faith changes people. That kind of faith shifts the world on its axis, because nothing can stand against it. As long as Peter keeps his eyes and his heart fixed on Jesus Christ, he can do the impossible – he can walk on the water. The moment he gives in to doubt and fear, he begins to sink. So it is with our personal faith, and so it is with life and the health of the Church.

"...God is calling each of us here today – clergy, lay, and religious – to love him with all our hearts and to renew the life of his Church. God is calling us now. Tomorrow will be too late. So let’s pray for each other, and support each other – and begin."

~ Archbishop Charles Chaput; excerpt from homily ~ 

Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests.  Amen.

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