A local newsreporter for the Winona Daily News wrote the following in today’s (Nov. 14, ’08) online edition: “If you need a reason to stay away from the Church, you can always come up with a host of sore points. The Catholic Church is struggling to recruit priests. The sex abuse continues to rock the Church and thousands of its members have decided not to follow all the Church teachings.” He went on to state that if you cannot follow all the Church’s teachings, then you should shop around for a different church. He follows up be saying: “I’ll continue to be a struggling Catholic.”
I agree with the first part of his comment, and the last. I disagree with his advice to leave the Church if you do not follow all her teachings. I believe in pluralism in the sense we need diversity in the midst of our unity. We need people who are willing to respectfully speak what they believe and even offer dissent when necessary. We need people who know the true meaning of obedience, i.e., the willingness to listen, acknowledge authority, and form their consciences faithfully, while staying in dialogue with the hierarchy of the Church, fulfilling the proper role of the laity in today’s world. We need people who love the Church, even if they do not always agree. We need everyone of good will. We are the Catholic Church, a universal Church, a diverse, multi-cultural Church.
I say, “Stay with us a while. We will come to recognize him (Jesus) and each other in the breaking of the bread, and in the community we form together. We need each of you.”