Tuesday, November 13, 2012


In his opening address of the current meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, President-Cardinal Timothy Dolan quoted the words of the Synod of Bishops on "New Evangelization."  They are an appeal for metanoia.  These words are worth hearing:
"We, however, should never think that the new evangelization does not concern us as Bishops personally. In these days voices among the Bishops were raised to recall that the Church must first of all heed the Word before she can evangelize the world. The invitation to evangelize becomes a call to conversion."
"We Bishops firmly believe that we must convert ourselves first to the power of Jesus Christ who alone can make all things new, above all our poor existence. With humility we must recognize that the poverty and weaknesses of Jesus' disciples, especially us, his ministers, weigh on the credibility of the mission. We are certainly aware – we bishops first of all – that we can never really be equal to the Lord's calling and mandate to proclaim His Gospel to the nations. We… do not hesitate to recognize our personal sins. We are, however, also convinced that the Lord's Spirit is capable of renewing His Church and rendering her garment resplendent if we let Him mold us." (Final Message of the Synod of Bishops to the People of God, October 28, 2012)

If bishops need conversion, so do we all--the group most celebrated (if anonymously) in the New Testament is the poor, and specifically the "Anawim" for and by whom (scholars believe) the NT canticles were written-- praising the bringing of Good News to the poor, light to those in darkenss... 

We should all study the text of Isaiah 61 again, which Jesus read in the synagogue at Nazareth, and of which He procaimed Himself to be the fulfillment.  If this is who He is and is intended to be, and if we are to be His disciples and members of His Body, then what are the implications for bishops--and all of us?

How 'converted' am I, really?  What would Jesus do; what would Jesus want me to do--really?  Where does my (so-called?) life of discipleship require more of me:  in detachment, in discipline, in dedication? 

It is fashionable (and easy) to point a finger at bishops, or the pope, or tne overall institutional Church; what happens when the finger is pointed back at me?  "Bishops," or "papacy," or "the Church":  a nice, convenient, abstract collective noun; is "me" all too personal a pronoun to think about??


1 comment:

  1. It has been unusual to hear from bishops in the secular press, the medium to which most citizens refer for news. My feelings are rather sardonic - there has been little altruistic news from the church hierarchy.
    Many of us catholics have been proselytized in the faith. Whether or not this has been meaningful has depended on receptivity, but also the effectiveness of a teacher. 'Blind' acceptance is temporary, but a search for enlightenment is rarely assumed by the nominal catholic. We look for heroism in the clergy - bishops. Bishops look for highly principled direction, ultimately from the Pope. But the distance between them and us filters the importance of the truth. The secular world is right there at our fingertips. If bishops truly invoke humility for themselves, it will become apparent to society - there will be a new cleansing. We, the nominal catholics will yearn to be washed, because our clergy are leading the way as our Lord and Savior once did.