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A Credibility Gap in Our Church (Thu May 6, 2004 9:16 am)

Christ blesses us by giving us a Pope. He embodies the unity of the faith we all love so dearly. But essential within this unity is the concept of subsidiarity which honors the integrity and rights of individual communities and persons to make their own decisions and find their own solutions. The priest shortage is a good example of a problem that demands local solutions. A recent Vatican document (CDF, April 6, 2004) refuses to acknowledge a shortage of priests even with over 5,000 (27%) priestless parishes in the U.S. alone and many, many more (possibly yours and mine) to come. And our bishops, failing an understanding of subsidiarity, fail their people if they stand mutely by, too fearful to speak the truth to the Pope, if they lack the courage to exercise the rights of their office to the detriment of their people.

What a gap in unity and credibility! The gap is lack of manifest confidence by the Pope in his bishops (control vs. subsidiarity), it is between the bishops and his parish communities (again control vs. subsidiarity), which is really a colossal lack of faith in the promise of the Holy Spirit to always be with the Church.

Bridging this credibility/subsidiarity gap in faith and unity begins in our own parish community by claiming the gifts of the Holy Spirit to solve our own problems. It moves up the ladder to our bishops who must claim their God-given jurisdictional prerogatives of office to serve their people with their unique gifts and needs. Finally it ends up with the Holy Father who must recognized and not stifle the diversity of function and gifts manifest in the unified Body of Christ.

Both up and down, subsidiarity ensouls the unity of faith that Christ gave us.

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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