We are living in an unprecedented time in the history of the Church. There are major challenges for anyone in leadership today, from Pope Francis to anyone who leads in the Church in any way. I fully acknowledge that all leaders must be accountable to the people they serve, and that there should always be openness and transparency. The Church has not been good at that and we need to make great improvements.
Our lives are also to be lived realistically, and the reality of human life is that nobody is perfect, and very clearly neither is the Church. As Cardinal Williams said back in the late 1980s (which has been quoted many, many times) – “I have to be a realist like yourselves and accept that the most telling image of the Church is an untidy caravan struggling across the desert, not a regiment of infantry marching in perfect step across an immaculate parade ground. We are, after all, the People of God, and people are imperfect and contradictory. To know it we have only to look at ourselves.” We, the People of God, are imperfect and contradictory. That is why we have faith communities where we try to help and support one another, where we talk together and listen to one another, where we try to create close and warm relationships, and hold one another in a network of solidarity and belonging. Our parish, college and school communities and our faith organizations are called to support everyone and find ways to encourage one another on life’s journey.
Internationally the Church has some major challenges. Every diocese has challenges and must look to new ways to be Church today. That can really only start with every one of us as individuals, deciding each day to do our best, seeking out others who need love and care, forgiving others when that is called for rather than dismissing and casting aside someone who has made a mistake. One of the questions I like to ask myself at the end of each day, and as I find it very helpful I share it with you is: “Have I been a good memory in someone‘s life today?” I wonder if we all honestly asked a question something like that if it would be a step in making our Church and our world a better place and a little more Christlike.
Naku noa. Na + Hoane