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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Luke 20

Lots of my friends and family members have asked me what I think about the allegations that some of the highest ranking leaders in the Catholic Church failed to stop some of the sexual abuse of children that was occurring during their time in office. I am always careful in my reply because I do not want to say things that could be construed as being anti-Catholic. I truly believe that the Catholic Church has contributed many amazing things – not only to the development of the Christian faith but to humanity as well. I would also be among the first to point out that there are individuals within any tradition who act in ways that cast their community in a poor light. I certainly get that.

What has upset me most in the development of the crisis, however, is the way that some church officials have suggested that any expression of concern directed against the church’s leadership is automatically anti-Catholic. That is disturbing – especially when it is meant to silence legitimate questions that need to be answered. It is absolutely essential to the integrity of the faith that brave women and men stand up and ask these difficult questions – for it is the only way irresponsible church officials will ever be held accountable for their actions.

So why am I talking about this controversial matter today?

Well, I was reminded of it when I read today’s passage from the 20th chapter of Luke. In that chapter, we are told that the religious leaders were aggressively pushing the limits in their efforts to discredit Jesus.

And what was it that kept the religious leaders from going too far?

In at least two cases, it was the people who established boundaries for the leaders who were out of control. When the religious leaders tried to question the credentials of Jesus and he re-directed them into a conversation about the credentials of John the Baptist, for instance, it was the leaders’ concern for the reaction of the public that kept them from going any further. And when Jesus told them the parable of the farmhands in an attempt to draw parallels with his own ministry and the religious leaders became so incensed that they wanted to do Jesus in, once again it was “the public opinion” that prevented them from acting on their impulses.

While public opinion can often be a dangerous thing (as we learned during Holy Week when the public acclaim Jesus felt on Palm Sunday quickly gave way to the cries of “Crucify him!” on Friday); it can sometimes be a very good thing. It can reign in those who go too far.

Today I would encourage you to re-double your commitment to reigning in those who would go too far. Use your voice in conjunction with others to speak your truth and set boundaries for those who would otherwise live without them. You never know what harm your individual (and collective) voice may prevent.

Til next time…

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