While this blog focuses on clergy child sex abuse, we think it’s important to take a break to acknowledge the Pope’s interview. His leadership style will have an impact on clericalism – a leading cause of the coverups.
by Susan Matthews
As a parent, I realize how impossible it would be to raise and guide my children if they weren’t in my house – under my roof. Many Catholics have left home. With his landmark interview, Pope Francis, the Father of our Church, is acting like any good Dad. He is opening the doors to his home. That gesture is also allowing light into an institution darkened by clericalism.
Some are misinterpreting his message as an accommodation. Yet, Pope Francis mentions no change in doctrine – just a different approach to teaching. The same approach that Jesus took.
Crazy. A Pope that acts like Jesus. He is reaching out to the marginalized and embracing the troubled with empathy and love. What a revolutionary idea. I’ve read comments that call Pope Francis a heretic. That’s what they called Christ.
But do his words change anything for Philadelphia Catholics? We are reeling in the aftermath of greed, mismanagement and scandal. At the same time, our physical identity is being dismantled due to shifting demographics and financial limitations. Archbishop Chaput has the unenviable task of closing parishes, schools and nursing homes. I don’t question his morals, but I do question his ability to raise morale. He was assigned to us by a very different Pope who sought a smaller, more orthodox Church. That hasn’t been a winning strategy.
Right now, we can’t depend on our local institutional Church to create and maintain a strong positive presence across all of our neighborhoods. But there are 1.3 million of us. With those numbers, we can still feed the hungry, protect our youth, shelter the homeless, provide health care and educate children across the archdiocese.
If you liked what the Pope had to say, live it. Give both your time and money to organizations and charities run by the humble, loving and inclusive. Maybe this crazy talk will catch on.