VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL
Fordham University, New York
Oct. 25, 03
The Future of the Church
Simply put, I dont know the future of the church any more
than you do. If I did, putting NCR to bed every week would be a much easier
But when the brochure arrived on my desk some weeks ago with the
title of the talk already in cold black and white, I knew it was a done deal.
So I took it as a sign that I should use it to illustrate what I think could be
a valuable lesson for American Catholics dealing with a Roman reality -- and
that is to do as the Romans do: Sometimes you simply have to ignore what comes
from on high.
Ill take my cue instead from a conversation I had with
David Pais, one of the conference organizers, who, in answer to my question,
What do you want from me? said, Whats the Pentecost
moment in all of this? How do we find out where were going?
That territory was a little more navigable, I thought:
Pentecost, uncertainty lashed to faith, a kind of wild moment of becoming. In
my imagination, it means we have to move, to act, but were not certain
exactly how. It means diligence as well as patience, boldness as well as
fidelity. All of which, I think, will be required of us in the days ahead.
What would I have called the talk? How about Toward a
credible church of fully functioning adults.
Just one other point of disclosure seems in order: I am here as
a journalist. I am not a theologian, church historian, or church professional
of any sort. What I bring is what I have seen and heard in reporting on this
church, in some fashion or other, for more than 25 years.
In addition, I bring, I hope, a reasonable interpretation of
some of those events, as well as a few ideas that might be helpful in
determining some future directions.
It is, indeed, humbling -- and challenging -- to be asked to
speak in this place, to such an audience as you, deeply concerned Catholics, on
such matters as the church today. It is not tipping the scales too much, I
believe, to say this is a moment of true crisis for this institution and for
the family that calls itself Catholic.
No individual, no single day can encompass all of the dimensions
of the crisis. So Ive decided to narrow the focus considerably and to
concentrate on two themes, which may appear to be competing themes, but which I
think are essential points if we are to have a future as a credible church of
fully functioning, adult believers.
The first idea centers on the need to actually discover our
voice. Dont presume you have a voice in the church, even if you are
deeply involved in working in the institution. It is a new experience, since
the impulses of reform were gathered and given expression at the Second Vatican
Council, that lay people should even seek to have a voice in church affairs.
That has not been the norm for most of the centuries of church history beyond
the first few.
The popular expression, Pay, pray, obey, is a
flippant description of deeper realities. Scott Appleby, the Notre Dame
historian, has taken to urging Catholics, in this era of scandal, to
Stay, pray and inveigh.
In many ways things certainly have changed during the past four
decades. Lay people are everywhere that they werent before. But the
question we have to ask today is, Have we really found a new voice, or
are we tolerated more out of desperation and need than because of a belief that
we truly, as the council documents say, share diligently in the salvific
work of the Church?
And if we really seek that voice, if the motto is Keep the
faith, change the church, then to whom do we speak and about what
Our voices must be heard! How many times have you
said or heard that in conversation with other Catholics? How many times has
that same sentiment been voiced at these kinds of gatherings, in small groups,
large groups, even from pulpits on Sunday in the wake of the latest scandal
explosion? And isnt it always followed by blank stares? How, where, in
what way do lay voices get heard?
The second theme has to do with listening and understanding.
This church of ours is a messy one, particularly when it is at its best fully
human, the here comes everyone of Joyces imagination. We
believe, as Thomas Groome wrote in What Makes Us Catholic, that
Gods Spirit reveals through the normal channels by which human
beings come to know anything - through activity and experience, through
curiosity and discovery, through reflection, conversation and community. This
is precisely the mode of knowing reflected in the Bible. In
other words, we dont have messages etched by the divine in our desk tops.
Rarely do we do things the easy way, but I wonder if there has ever been a more
rancorous and divisive period in American Catholicism than the past 40
In the quarter century that I have been involved in covering the
church, I have been to meetings of social justice Catholics, peace Catholics,
liturgical renewal Catholics, Catholics who see small communities as the last
hope for the church, Charismatic Catholics, Cursillo Catholics, Right-to-Life
Catholics, traditionalist Latin-Mass Catholics, Catholics who I am convinced
believe that church history ended with Vatican II, others who believe that
Vatican II was a failure because it has not resulted in a pure democracy and a
woman pope, yet others who believe that Vatican II tolled the death knell for
anything worth calling Catholic, and one weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, a
gathering of more than 10,000 Catholics convinced that the Virgin Mary had
become a very busy person with all of the apparitions she was engaged in around
We are a rather unwieldy lot increasingly split into interest
groups that are shoring up their boundaries and shielding themselves, sometimes
encouraged by the hierarchy to do so, against any disturbing influences from
Weve become a church of often angry and unsettled interest
groups groping about for the larger, unifying theme and trying to work our way
around bishops and orders from Rome.
It has to be said, too, that opposition to hierarchy comes not
just from liberal quarters. I recall one year leaving the hotel where the
bishops had held their annual meeting in Washington and going across town to
another hotel where very conservative Catholics were having a political
strategy meeting. The bishops had just issued a document critical of the
Clinton welfare reform plans and other anti-poor measures. The conservatives
were extremely upset and though they boasted two cardinals on their board (both
of whom had voted for the measure) the ballroom was absolutely purple with
I also remember the reporter I had assigned to cover a reform
group for several days followed by covering a conservative gathering. NCR was
received warmly, of course, by reformers and by curious stares at the
conservative gathering, save for one priest, one of the luminaries of the right
who interrupted his busy schedule for a lengthy interview away from the main
crowd. Even before the interview got started, the reporter chuckled when she
returned home, the priest told her he believed wholeheartedly in what the
conservative group was doing but had to admit he found liberals more
interesting to talk to. The point is, we cant go looking for straight
lines. But perhaps we can inject some civility and even a little humor into the
debates and perhaps some of the debates can actually turn into discussions.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago recently wrote a column on
the lack of civility in both civic and church affairs. I couldnt agree
more. Scream television is being touted as informative and newsy; much of our
communication in church circles is combative and argumentative. We espouse
great tolerance for other traditions, other cultures, other faiths. But we have
little tolerance for each other.
In many ways, its typical family stuff: Often the most
difficult people to be civil with are those closest to us. Its easy to
forgive the stranger, far more difficult to give the benefit of the doubt to
the sibling who has always gotten under our skin.
One of the challenges we face, I believe, is holding these two
ideas simultaneously: more persistently pushing to establish the voice of
concerned laity while at the same time working to listen and understand across
the divides of our interests and ideas of church. Not an easy undertaking.
No other word quite describes as well our condition. We are here
ostensibly because of what we popularly refer to as the sex abuse crisis. As
someone who has written more stories and editorials about that crisis than I
care to count, who still continues to plead editorially for accountability, I
wish with all my heart that the sex abuse crisis were over. I am so tired of
this story which I have reported on, edited and assigned reporters to for about
15 years, that I really wanted to say tonight that it is over. That all
were hearing about are cases weve already heard about. That the
church had reformed its behavior. But its not over. Truth is, we
dont know the full dimensions of the crisis and the information that we
and others have been seeking - the simple numbers, of victims, of priests
credibly accused, the amount of money spent on legal costs and settlements, has
yet to be compiled on a national basis.
We will continue to face the legal and financial fallout from
the crisis far into the future.
At the same time, I believe that long ago Catholics learned to
forgive the sins of their clergy, whether the indiscretion be alcohol, drugs or
sexual abuse. We Catholics understand individual sin, we are mostly merciful
toward our priests and we realize the increasing pressures they are under as
their numbers shrink.
What would compound the tragedy of the sex abuse crisis is if
U.S. Catholics become convinced that the bishops actions to date had
satisfactorily dealt with the scandal and that we can now put it behind us.
No, I really believe we are here because of a crisis in
authority and leadership. The sexual abuse crisis had been around and known for
17 years before the recent blowup in Boston. What happened in Boston was of a
different order. Certainly, the new revelations of depravity and abuse of power
and privilege, the horrible abuse of our children, awoke us again to the
reality that our spiritual leaders had failed miserably. But what really shook
Catholics to the foundation was the evidence contained in all of the documents
that showed a persistent and deliberate coverup of the deeds, an almost
inconceivable and criminal disregard for the victims. The documents, thousands
of them, contained the unedited, unscrubbed and un-spun words of some of the
most powerful in the U.S. church. They revealed for all to see what many of us
knew in our guts from inference and insider tales, from those who knew somebody
who knew the boss, by instincts of ordinary Catholics who uneasily sensed the
decay harbored amid clerical secrecy and the closed clerical culture. The
documents showed the most powerful regularly overlooked the violation of the
most innocent and then further violated our trust and raided our treasury to
conceal the evil. Were here because we were made to face the fact that
the sex abuse scandal was the visible symptom of a deeper and more destructive
corruption. And it is that corruption that our bishops havent begun to
WHERE DO WE GO?
The laity needs to understand what a strategic role they
are in, said Fr. Bryan Hehir, whose resume places him at some of the most
important touch points of U.S. church development in the past 20 years. He was
speaking some hours north of here recently at Boston College, where he was a
participant in that schools Church in the 21st Century
project, a project that originated in the fallout from the scandal.
One hundred years ago tonight, this kind of discussion
would have been inconceivable in American Catholicism - literally
inconceivable, in this kind of room, at this university, on this kind of
The same, of course, could be said for today.
I am not much for public introspection, it always makes me a bit
nervous, but take just a moment to think. Why are we here? What is it that
calls us, convinces us, to gather on a Saturday in the Bronx?
I would guess that a large part of the call is that of a family
in deep crisis. It is a family whose roots are sunk well into the fabric of our
everyday life, even if the patterns of that family, the gatherings, the
celebrations, those events that mark lifes big moments, have changed and
become somewhat strained in recent months.
We are here because were in trouble. We see the life and
vitality slipping out of the church.
This is a difficult time. In the period of just forty years:
- Some people in the church have been hurt, confused and
alienated because many felt steamrolled by changes of Vatican II that they had
not asked for. The church that they felt had existed unchanged from the
beginning was being changed radically.
- Having been convinced of the changes, many now feel alienated
or frustrated or angry because a new group of bishops and a new group of
priests, reformers of the reform, are telling them we have to turn back, that
the changes were a mistake or that they really didnt mean what we thought
- Finally, on top of all that, we have this scandal and the
crises it reveals.
Do you understand how important your stubborn faith is to the
church? Your bishops ought to be throwing parties for you and thanking you for
staying, not refusing to talk to you.
Arthur Jones recently wrote in a column to appear on the NCR
website that he has been gathering anecdotes from formerly steadfast
Catholics of the generation now age roughly 58 and over who are
bowing out of their former Prometheus-bound relationship to the
Mature Catholics whose daily and weekly adherences have
been the stepping stones of their lives, are now down to Sunday mass once or
twice a month, and dropping perhaps a $5 bill in the basket instead of the once
significant weekly check. Their money is still going to good works, but the
parish and diocese - the institution - is no longer the vehicle.
As I say, he wrote, this is anecdotal.
Its just that I hear it sufficiently often to suggest it is a growing
He continues by quoting a portion of a letter from Peter Foley,
a professor in the University of Arizonas humanities and religious
studies program, who, in a purported letter to the Holy Father, which he
may or may not have sent, treats us to this insight:
My parish priest
.loves the Latin Mass and all the
different altar cloths. The church looks great now and isnt cluttered up
with all the riff-raff any more either. You really can see the lovely altar all
the way from the back, even on Sunday now, because there is nobody in your
I was told recently by a long-time friend, a wonderful writer
with a PhD in theology who raised five kids, and sent most of them to Catholic
high schools and colleges, that she hasnt been inside a Catholic church
for months. Youve walked? I asked. I guess you could
say that, she said. The way she explained it is that the scandal and the
fallout, what she heard - and didnt hear - from bishops, what the Vatican
was doing to theologians, gays, women, all of it had just worn her down.
It has nothing to do with Jesus, nothing to do with the gospels,
Later, I got an e-mail from her with a slight revision:
I don't think it's exactly accurate to say I've
walked, as you put it yesterday. I think it's more that I'm
standing and watching outside the door, at a safe distance ... i.e. not on the
threshold ... watching events with a skeptical eye. If, however, significant
changes were made, or a refreshing new direction signaled ... I might venture
back in. I've removed myself, but I haven't gone anywhere else so far. If I
could find another place that appealed, I might. But so far, no.
Im not prepared to predict any significant drop in numbers
because of the sex abuse scandal - though I wouldnt be surprised -
because I dont have any real data in hand, just anecdotes, stories of the
weary, the exhausted, the disenchanted. But the anecdotal evidence is becoming
significant that we are bleeding intelligent, holy people.
The fact is that in many segments of American Catholicism,
particularly among those who, like you, have given the most in terms of time,
talent and treasure, morale is in the basement. Our priests are worn out and
fearful. I realize that this analysis characterizes largely the Northeast and
large sections of the Midwest and does not take into consideration details on
black Catholics, or the growing number of recent arrivals in the Hispanic and
Asian church populations.
However, this growing corpus of stories - tales that we all have
heard or told ourselves - is the informal record of uncertainty of the early
21st century Catholic in the United States.
Still, we are being exhorted, now more than ever, to take our
rightful place in the church, to make our voices heard, to engage in
In a letter just before he died, Fr. Phil Murnion, honored here
earlier today, urged the bishops to dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
with their priests and lay people. It would exact a price, he knew, but he also
was convinced the dialogue was worth the cost.
In Boston, Fr. Hehir said were at a new moment in
The laity are in a strategic leverage position.
He said he wasnt calling for a revolution. That
doesnt work in the Catholic Church, he said.
He went on, contending that there is a range of definable,
discussible issues for adults. The laity needs to say, at every level, We
simply wont accept anything less than adult conversation. Now
that ought to become the mantra of whatever movement this is: We simply
wont accept anything less than adult conversation.
He added an ending thought - that the call for adult
conversation is not rebellion or an attempt to defy the church.
There I have to differ. With all due deference to Fr. Hehir,
whom I consider not only one of the finest minds in the church today but also
one of its outstanding representatives for years in the wider culture, I think
he is, in the context of todays church, calling for nothing less than a
Having said I know nothing about the future of the church, let
me tell you what I know about the future of the church (Im a journalist.
It would be a betrayal of the craft if, invited to say something about
anything, I decided to remain silent.) What I know about the future has nothing
to do with the contest of ideas or theological insights into the nature of
church. It has everything to do with one undeniable, measurable reality: the
I was meeting several months ago with a priest theologian from
the Midwest who, in answer to one of my questions, said, Youve got
to do a story on the priest shortage.
Weve done it to death, I said. Everyone
knows theres a priest shortage.
No, he said. You have to go back and take a
look at the numbers again. Really do the numbers.
He explained that earlier in the year his bishop had made quite
a deal over the fact that the diocese was ordaining, I think it was five or six
priests this year, a few more than usual.
I got the impression that it was being touted as a sign of
But my priest friend said he began looking hard at the numbers,
at the ages, at the numbers retiring and dying and he came to a grim
conclusion. In his words: Its over. Not in 20 or 30 years, but in
more like five or six or seven at the outside.
So two weeks ago we ran yet another story on the priest
shortage. It is worse by two years than we thought it was or than the experts
had predicted it would be.
Let me run through some of the numbers for you - and these are
taken from that article, written by our Washington writer Joe Feuerherd:
In the mid-1990s, researchers Richard Schoenherr and Lawrence
Young predicted that by 2005 the number of active diocesan clergy would be
21,000, down 40 percent since1965.
They were wrong.
Death, retirement and resignation have already reduced the
clerical ranks to that number two years ahead of Schoenherr and Youngs
Today there are more American priests over age 90 than under age
30; by 2010 the number of active diocesan clergy, projected at just over
15,000, will be less than the countrys 19,000 parishes.
The number of priestless parishes -- those without a
resident priest -- will rise from the current 3,000 (16 percent of U.S.
parishes) and no one is certain by how much, even as seminaries graduate only
one new priest for every three clerics -- now approaching an average age of 60
-- who retire, die or resign.
Today, in the 124-parish diocese of Belleville, the southeastern
Illinois home of Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops, church administrators are planning for a drop of nearly 50
percent in the clergy rolls over the next 27 years, leaving just 43 priests to
serve the 11,600-square-mile see. In New Yorks Brooklyn, 160 of the
dioceses 400-plus diocesan clergy will become retirement-eligible over
the next decade.
More than 3,300 U.S. parishes are led by pastoral
administrators, of whom nearly half are lay, a third women religious, and
nearly 20 percent permanent deacons.
Meanwhile, over the past three decades, according to the Center
for Applied Research in the Apostolate, enrollment in lay ecclesial ministry
programs has more than tripled - from 10,500 to more than 35,000. They will
join an additional 35,000 fully certified lay ecclesial ministers and
13,000-plus ordained permanent deacons.
Problem solved? Not quite. Not unless youre envisioning
drive-by consecrations or mail-in Eucharist kits. The Catholic community is
clearly in danger of losing that one element that does cut across all of the
divides as an unquestioned unifying act -- the Eucharist. We call ourselves a
eucharistic community. Thats our major distinctive on the Christian
landscape, a distinctive we are slowly losing.
The growing role of laity, wrote Feuerherd, is a decidedly mixed
blessing. On one hand it is a recipe for lay empowerment, non-clerical dynamism
and parish collaboration typically valued by church reformers. On the other
hand, the trend is a source of frustration because the new approaches to parish
ministry, say those who support expanding the priestly ordination pool, allow
church leaders to ignore the root cause of the shortage. More traditionalist
American Catholics, meanwhile, may value the service provided by the laity and
deacons, but they fear confusion in the pews over who is supposed to do what in
a Catholic parish community.
No matter how all those concerns and questions play out, it is
clear that the future Catholic church will be dramatically different from
todays and will keep changing. Rome can make all the rules it wants to
about redrawing the distinction between clergy and laity, but the hard truth on
the ground in growing areas throughout the Midwest and South and Southeast and
Southwest is that increasingly parishes will be run by non-ordained
Thats the future, often unplanned and unwanted, but
nonetheless the fact.
GETTING BEYOND THE BLANK STARES
It is because of the crises: the sex abuse crisis, the larger
crisis of authority and leadership and the daunting crisis of priestless
parishes and communities without the Eucharist that we, now, must find our
Some of the best minds in the U.S. church have been over this
ground repeatedly in recent months. All of them - Peggy Steinfels and Scott
Appleby, who spoke eloquently and forcefully before the bishops; Peter
Steinfels in his book A People Adrift, the Crisis of the Roman Catholic
Church in America; Garry Wills in Papal Sin and Why Am I a
Catholic, David Gibson, in the Coming Catholic Church, Historian
David OBrien, political scientist and editor Jesuit Tom Reese,
commentator and author James Carroll, columnists and authors Eugene Kennedy and
Fr. Richard McBrien, as well as columnists on the other end of the spectrum
such as Russell Shaw and George Weigel, have come to some similar conclusions
on the large picture, even if there are degrees of difference - some of them
pronounced - on the particulars. There already are more than enough words out
there framing the problem and possible solutions.
I think it would not be misrepresenting things if I said there
is broad consensus on several points:
The need for greater accountability on the part of the
The need for significant structural reform;
The need for representation of laity, especially women, in the
decision-making structures of parishes and dioceses.
And those three make up a hefty agenda. Yes, it is an agenda, an
understandable one given what the hierarchy has already put the church through.
So dont be upset if a bishop says you have an agenda. Youd be
absolutely silly not to have one, given what has happened in the church. It
just must be a disciplined and limited agenda, one aware of whats
possible. And thats where Voice of the Faithful is especially important.
You bring a new, well-defined and limited agenda to the table. I think your
approach is essential if you seriously want to begin a dialogue with church
leaders; face it, it would be a very rare bishop who, today, would entertain a
public conversation about married priests, or ordaining women, or gay and
lesbian rights. Keep it simple and focused: accountability, structural reform,
greater lay involvement.
I would like to make one suggestion, as someone looking in from
the outside, and that would be to resist the temptation to define yourself over
against other groups. Organizations such as Call to Action or the Womens
Ordination Conference or the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the
Church or Future Church all are easy targets. They raise controversial issues
and are viewed with suspicion by the hierarchy. It is certainly understandable
that you would stay away from their agendas as you press your own concerns.
However, it is enough to be a different group. Theres no need to be
openly opposed to other efforts. We dont need more divisions in the
church. I think it is also good to remember that such groups, much as you may
disagree with this or that emphasis, have kept the questions alive when no one
else was willing to during the past 30 years. They have also provided a
platform for speakers marginalized by the institutional church and who
otherwise would have had a far more limited audience.
The problem is how do concerned Catholics move this matter from
the ideas stage to some kind of action.
We need to understand that the complaint that the most educated
Catholic laity in history have no place at the table where the real discussions
and decisions are made is not new to the crisis.
In May 1962, a year before NCR was born and the first year of
the Second Vatican Council, Donald Thorman, who would later become publisher of
NCR, wrote a book, The Emerging Layman. Thorman, no doubt, would use
more inclusive language today, but his concerns still resonate strongly.
He wrote: The ancient and the new within the church have
been combined in mid-century America to produce a paradox - articulate laymen
In its crudest form, the problem might be stated this way:
The church has dedicated herself to the education of the laity and now she has
a better-educated and better-trained laity than ever before. The church has
likewise encouraged the lay apostolate and she now has a large group of
informed and alert lay men and women eager to be of service. But what does she
do with them?
These men and women represent a new force within the
church. They are not rebellious or seeking power; quite the contrary. But they
represent a growing reservoir of brains and talent that deserve to be - and
indeed must be--utilized in the service of the church. Yet there are no
clear-cut channels through which their voice may be heard, through which they
may prudently and humbly exert a beneficial pressure on the Church.
That was written more than 40 years ago. Certainly the
professional status of some lay people within the church has changed. As noted
earlier, increasingly the church is being run by lay people, and most of them
Still, the kind of conversation that Thorman wanted is the very
conversation that has to underlie any initiative you might undertake on the
three areas listed above.
Lets get to the nitty gritty. From a question as
fundamental as how does grace work -- Is it available everywhere and to
everyone or does the Catholic Church have special province in the matter? to
the issue of how centralized church government should be to just how particular
and minute should be the instructions about who can shake hands where during
the kiss of peace -- what we are going through these days is a basic battle of
ideas. But make no mistake, there is also a real, political dimension to all of
I am convinced that those who felt their church was being
unceremoniously yanked from them 40 years ago have been successful in their
drive to reform the reform as much because of their political acumen as the
force of their ideas.
Simply put, this tiny minority knew how to organize and how to
make themselves and their concerns unceasingly present before church
Concerned Catholics who have a different vision, who want their
church to be a more inclusive, more open, more tolerant and more loving place
have to do the grassroots work as well.
Religion, like politics, is local. Projects like the national
Common Ground Initiative are essential discussions for keeping ideas alive in
the big picture. But little will happen unless Catholics at the parish level
let their bishops and priests know their concerns and their willingness to
Know the case you want to make. Know the history. Then make the
Dont stay isolated. Make the connections, parish to parish
and diocese to diocese.
Dont allow one faction of the church to define orthodoxy
or claim themselves exclusively faithful to church teaching.
I am not here advocating debate or open ecclesiastical
Just know what you want to say. Know the documents of Vatican II
the way others might know the documents of Trent.
Know the papal encyclicals and understand that even Vatican
pronouncements often have nuance and context that make reading them in an
American context difficult.
Some will tell you that Vatican II documents have an
on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand compromise quality about them from which you
can argue almost anything. Maybe so. Know which hand you want to advance and do
it thoughtfully, prayerfully and persistently. The bishops did not gather three
years in a row because they had nothing else to do. Know the history of that
period - something real happened and we are the heirs of that moment. Read the
literature, keep up with developments, consult your favorite theologians, alive
or in print.
Dont think you are going to persuade a resistant priest or
bishop when you make the case. Thats not the point. Just keep making it.
Thoughtfully, persistently, prayerfully and in as great a number as you can
Your activities will draw coverage and commentary - certainly
NCR will - and some of it may be critical or raise tough questions. Thats
fine. Its part of the adult conversation.
And if you do that kind of work, I believe youll be about
forcing the adult conversation. Settling for nothing less.
Dont stop trying.
I am convinced that bishops and cardinals ultimately respond to
constituencies as politicians would. After all, they have to be shepherding
What we should be after, in the end, is the sentiment between
bishop and people expressed by St. Augustine and included this way in the
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: As St. Augustine very beautifully
puts it: When I am frightened by what I am to you, then I am consoled by
what I am with you. To you I am the bishop, with you I am a Christian. The
first is an office, the second salvation.
Finally, I urge you to start in your thoughts forty years ago
with Don Thorman and look at where we are.
Forty years ago the situation was just being framed and
everything was hope.
Twenty years ago, fear and uncertainty began to creep in and
everything was under discussion.
Should we continue to just pray and pay?
Perhaps. Perhaps not. You can decide. Just dont do
something because youve always done it.
Pray and stay?
Certainly, but also remember to inveigh.
Stay informed and inform others - look for signs of hope.
And know that The Voice of the Faithful is a sign of hope.
Spread the word of hope.
Dont be afraid to create a new wild moment of
Stay with it. You are faithful. You are the church.