Saturday, May 19, 2012

Liberal Catholic

I went to the theater recently with a couple, the husband on my right, the wife on my left.  A woman by herself came in and sat on the other side of the wife.  Then two people the wife knew sat byond that woman.  Those two and my friend began talking back and forth.  After listening to this for a while the stranger in the middle said, "You are talking clearly as liberal Democrats.  At the same time you are referring to your being Catholic.  I didn't know Catholics could be liberal, let alone Democrats."
By temperament and by conviction I am a liberal.  I always know that around  the next turn in the trail there will be a better view. 
Being a liberal priest in the Catholic Church has never been easy; but, if you are going to be one, 1962 was a good year to be ordained.  On October 11 of that year, less than five months after my ordination, the great Pope John 23rd opened Vatican Council II, releasing a fresh, liberal blast of the Holy Spirit that renewed our Church.  It was all that we had hoped for and more.
I have been delighted by the changes in the Mass that encourages people's participation.  But I think the most important emphasis of the Council was that the Church was all the members, not just the bishops and the pope.  Once Jesus becomes invisible in the Ascension, he expects all of his followers to continue the work that he began in our world.
It has been wonderful to have my fifty years as a priest coincide with the Council's 50 years.

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