To the Editor:
I guess I join the apostles in wanting to wake Jesus and say, “Do you not care that we are perishing?”
“Three parishes will merge to form Holy Family Parish” was the headline on page 1 of The Catholic Messenger (June 10, 2021). Next to the picture below was a strange logo: “Grow our Church.” From three to one is growth? By whose math? Or experience? The Catholic Church in the United States is not growing, it is SHRINKING. The following week, the June 17 editorial said that the solution may be to “reframe that term (vocation crisis), putting the focus on creating a culture of vocations in our parishes. Whatever term we use, change is necessary.”
Indeed, change is necessary and not just at the parish and diocesan levels. Change is possible if the pope and bishops really believed it were necessary too. Other choices existed historically; at least one of the apostles was married, evidence exists of women deacons and abbesses, and ordained Catholic women may have functioned in the Soviet Union. We also have allowed some other ordained, Christian men to function as Catholic priests upon their conversion and ordination. It was not until the 12th century that ordination was limited to celibate males in the Latin Church.
Do we really believe the Spirit is alive in our Church? Or is the breath of God suffocated by 21st century clericalism? Pope Francis announced that a World Synod of Bishops will be held in October 2023, with preparation to begin at the diocesan level this October. In announcing the event, he “expressed his desire for a common path for ‘laity, pastors, the Bishop of Rome.’” We could get serious about change at this opportunity, and imagine leaps, not just steps, for “growing our Church.” I believe the Spirit is impatient, like I am.
Sister Mary Rehmann, CHM