I read with dismay the reports from the Synod of Bishops in Rome. The on-line version of The Tablet (The tablet.co.uk) reads like a report from our Australian parliament with conservative members sniggering and making comments about anything that might help the poor. I am reminded of Jesus and I wonder what he would say about all the pomp and ceremony and the elaborate dress when compared to the lack of priests and the stress of the divorced who are cut off from the Eucharist. Our own Cardinal Pell, along with others, made a “spirited intervention to retain priestly celibacy at all costs.” I think they have forgotten that St. Peter had a “mother-in-law”. We are asked to pray to the Holy Spirit to provide more workers in the vineyard and to support vocations. The Holy Spirit has, I believe, stimulated debate about the whole celibacy issue and the ordination of ordinary people in the community, but the conservatives are waiting for the Holy Spirit to reply in the way they want. In the Tablet article, Archbishop Orowae of PNG is reported as asking “Does one need years of intellectual formation in philosophy and theology to give needed service to the poor people in remote areas?” His question was ignored in the final recommendations.
Archbishop Dew of Wellington, commented that “there are those whose first marriages ended in sadness; they have never abandoned the Church but are currently excluded from the Eucharist.” The conservative Bishops say that they must remain true and develop a different friendship with the Church and accept their exclusion from the Eucharist. I seem to recall Jesus condemning the Pharisees for putting heavy burdens on people and lifting a finger to help and in another place saying come to Him all who are burdened, my yoke is easy and my burden light. I would hate to think that the conservatives are worried that any changes in these areas should not happen because of the embarrassment caused. Jesus just did the right thing regardless of who thought what about Him.
Unless the people of God feel listened to by their leaders, they will vote with their feet to other organisations that can provide for their spiritual needs.
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