The body of Christ must reclaim our Church

We are the body of Christ, we are the church. It is time that we demand that bishops claim their true vocations as servants to the people of God. And they must live that way.

Aug 25, 2018

We are the body of Christ, we are the church. It is time that we demand that bishops claim their true vocations as servants to the people of God. And they must live that way.

At this time, it seems laity can do very little to effect the changes needed to bring about the solutions to the large issues that plague the Church now — careerism, abuse of power, lack of transparency, no accountability. The fact is laypeople in our Church today have little power.

That said, as any community organiser would tell you, we have the power of the collective. Now more than ever, we — the laity — need to speak with a united voice.

It is shocking that after decades of revelations of sexual abuse of children, there is still no clear accountability for bishops. We must demand change.

We must demand for a better and full lay participation in whatever commission, tribunals, councils there are in the Church. We won’t settle for tokenism or mere “advisory roles.”

Furthermore, women should be as equally represented as men in these study groups, commissions, tribunals and councils. We would especially recommend reserving places in these groups for women religious.

Indeed, if the effort the Vatican had expended on such baseless examinations had instead been focused on cleaning house of abusive or complicit bishops and priests, how much further along might we be in healing from the cancer of sexual abuse that weakens the Church among its followers and erodes its moral standing in the world?

The next time you go to Mass and as you kneel in that silence that envelops the Church just before liturgy begins, utter a prayer for this battered and wounded body we call the Church. Pray for a renewal and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, and pray for a reform of our broken system. Then glance to your left and your right. Kneeling beside you are likely the strongest allies you have in rebuilding a Church so badly in need of reform.

This affects all of us — the people of God. It’s more than past time that we the laity demand more of our church leaders.

(This article first appeared on NCRonline.org, the Website of National Catholic Reporter, and is being used with permission)

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