A Welcoming Church, a Better Church?
Okay, here is the scenario. You are walking out of Mass on any given Sunday and a microphone is shoved in your face. It is the media, and they want to know what the Catholics in the pews think about Pope Francis, but in particular, his call to be a better Church.
Now before you ask where the Pope said such a thing, just know that it is irrelevant, as the media has pieced it together, it is as good as fact. So, there you are standing on the step of your home away from home, your local Catholic Church, and they ask you: what changes could make the Catholic Church into a better Church?
There are a myriad of ways to respond to the question but you do not have that much time to ponder it. Is your response, better worship, better or different or diversified representation among the clergy, more clarity in doctrine, stronger disciplinary actions taken against wayward sheep, getting rid of all of the Church’s wealth? A relaxation in the moral law?
If you knew that your gut reaction would be aired; tossed around if you will to represent the average church attendee, how would you answer? What would make the Catholic Church a better Church?
For my part, I think most would agree that a more welcoming Church would necessarily be a better Church, but I also think that most of us have not really thought this through. It would be a gut reaction, and a safe one, but notice how loaded the words welcoming Church really are. Depending on your theological persuasion those words could be as harmless and helpful as building up the community of faith around the Eucharist, or they could be the picketing sign that demands the right to everything irreverent.
So what would make the Catholic Church a better Church? Surely a more hospitable and welcoming environment…maybe.