A view of the church

There's lots in the news these days about the Catholic Church--much of it not stuff I wish to comment on. It's interesting because I'm also taking a course called "Theology in an Ecumenical Context," which is just what it sounds like. We have folks from a variety of Christian churches in the class, and we are in dialogue learning about each other's traditions and deepening our understanding and appreciation of our own. With the Catholic Church in the news every day in not so great a light, it's as I say an interesting time.

Which perhaps is why I was so pleased to read Nicolas Kristof's op-ed today in the New York Times. A lot of what he says resonates with me. Especially this bit:

Yet there’s another Catholic Church as well, one I admire intensely. This is the grass-roots Catholic Church that does far more good in the world than it ever gets credit for. This is the church that supports extraordinary aid organizations like Catholic Relief Services and Caritas, saving lives every day, and that operates superb schools that provide needy children an escalator out of poverty.

This is the church of the nuns and priests in Congo, toiling in obscurity to feed and educate children. This is the church of the Brazilian priest fighting AIDS who told me that if he were pope, he would build a condom factory in the Vatican to save lives.

This is the church of the Maryknoll Sisters in Central America and the Cabrini Sisters in Africa. There’s a stereotype of nuns as stodgy Victorian traditionalists. I learned otherwise while hanging on for my life in a passenger seat as an American nun with a lead foot drove her jeep over ruts and through a creek in Swaziland to visit AIDS orphans. After a number of encounters like that, I’ve come to believe that the very coolest people in the world today may be nuns.

So when you read about the scandals, remember that the Vatican is not the same as the Catholic Church. Ordinary lepers, prostitutes and slum-dwellers may never see a cardinal, but they daily encounter a truly noble Catholic Church in the form of priests, nuns and lay workers toiling to make a difference.

1 comment:

Pachyderm said...

Oh yes, thank you! This Anglican is standing with the Catholic Church and praying that out of the pain comes new birth.

Sr Therese