Tuesday, November 11, 2014
The Church, Two Steps Forward One Step Back.
Back in the year 1615, Galileo who was an Italian, physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer and philosopher made it know that the world revolved around the sun and the earth was indeed round and not flat. The church felt that this was contrary to scripture and charged him with Heresy. He had to attend a trial. He recanted his discovery for fear of death and he was put on house arrest for the rest of his life until he died. Years later it was discovered that Galileo was ahead of his times and thus correct. The church and science was not in congruence and the church just as it is today was slow to change. (Wilkepedia 2015)
I thought about this and had some hope of change when it was published on October 13, that the Catholic Church was meeting and was opening dialogues to shift their tone on gays,divorced and single people and to be more welcoming of this group of people. Pope Francis vision was to open the doors of the church and allow everyone to feel welcome. (Povoledo, E Goodsteinoct, L 2014) This would have been a major change to modernize the church and would have promoted evangelism internally and externally in the Catholic Faith. The Church is a place of love. If God is present love is present because it is the church teachings that God is love who loves all of his creation especially mankind who is made in his own image and likeness.
I thought that Pope Francis was well before his time but, however admired his courage to put on a committee of bishops to view this. Today those who identify as being homosexual and those that are divorced and remarried are viewed as living in sin and are refused communion. In the United States, however many people attend parishes who have the spirit of don’t ask don’t tell. The question is, is the church ready for such a radical change? The answer to this committee was a resounding no.
On October 19 Catholic Bishops vetoed this document. It did however accept a revised document that makes reference to welcoming homosexual person by adding “men and women of homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and sensitivity.” The idea of saying anything positive about same sex union was scrapped as well as allowing those who have married and remarried outside the church access to communion. Pope Francis wanted to extend communion to more people who are not allowed at this time. (Davies, L 10/19/2014)
In these modern times, there have been many studies that have proved over and over that sexual orientation is linked to genetics and other biological factors. The church has agreed that there is little difference in revelation of God and science. In fact the church no longer argues about evolution in its teachings. It feels that it is indeed creation and God evolving it’s creation over a period of time. God is at work. The Church also teaches that God reveals himself little by little over time and we as believers gain more knowledge of him as he reveals himself to us. The question is, is God revealing himself to us today? We live in modern times where over half of marriages fail. There are many societal ills that contributes to this. We also live in a time where fewer people are getting married and fewer people are having children as well. The look of the modern family today has changed. We have blended families and there are many other examples of non –traditional families. How do we minister to these people?
As the article indicated, there are many people that have gifts to offer that the church doesn’t welcome with open arms, be it lesbian, gay divorced remarried or single people, these people are creatures that are made in the image and likeness of God that he truly loves just as much as he loves all of his creation. So if God is love, shouldn’t we love one another as he love us? The fact remains that when Jesus was on Earth and developed his ministry, he called people that were imperfect to love and serve him.
Maybe the Church is being called to call others that are viewed as being imperfect to come in the church to love and serve the Lord. Is the church still behind times? Is the church once again having a Galileo moment and not allowing itself to modernize and thus reach out to all of the worlds peoples?
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/18/catholic-bishops-backtrack-on-gay-welcome Lizzy Davies in Rome OCTOBER 19 ,2014
www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/world/europe/vatican-signals-more-tolerance-toward-gays-and-remarriage.html (By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO and LAURIE GOODSTEINOCT. 13, 2014)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei extracted 11/11/14