Wednesday, April 10, 2002

The Vision

Blogs seem to be everywhere these days; many Catholic ones to boot. Now I have never kept a journal or diary and don't plan to start one now. If you want Catholic commentary on daily events, see one of the links to the left.

Instead, this Blog aims to be an exploration of John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici. The recent scandals rocking the Catholic Church have left me frustrated and angry, especially having lived in the Archdiocese of Boston during my law school days. Set aside for the moment the pundits seeing an opportunity to push their anti-Church agenda and the media outlets unwilling to do their homework on the actualities of the scandal. As troubling as it is to hear the stories of victims of clerical abuse, I am equally disturbed (if not more so) by the more general problem: some bishops behaving like administrators of companies rather than shepherds of the people of God.

All of that is somewhat of a tangent, but did serve to motivate me to create this Blog. For a while now I have felt that the Catholic Church in the United States has done little to help the laity develop a true understanding of how the laity is called to live out the Gospel. Somewhat understandable. If you aren't going to preach on the Church's doctrine, are you really going to help the laity thoughtfully develop a spirituality true to their state? I get frustrated by Catholics who are led to believe that the apostolate of the laity is to serve as lectors and eucharistic ministers. How limiting and troubling for the effort to convert society to the Gospel! I learn things from every saint's example, but why do I never hear about saints like St. Thomas More or St. Joseph Moscati? It's always about some monk, nun or priest.

This seems like such a missed opportunity. I read Christifideles Laici during law school and was immediately struck by the fact that John Paul II has a profound vision of the unique character of the laity -- and one other than the old "pray, pay and obey". But I have never seen his vision fleshed out. I always thought that effort would make a great magazine, which I would call Integrity as it seems to capture the need to let Christ infuse all area's of your life and the responsibility of a Christian to strive for holiness.

This Blog is a substitute for that magazine. Now I am no theologian; I only offer here my simple musings on Christifideles Laici. My hope is that those who read this Blog will chime in with their thoughts, which I will post too. I am sure most Catholics are struggling to not let the scandals shake their faith. Taking a look at the ideal we are called to may be a good way to stay grounded in the hope that we find in the Lord.