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September 12, 2012 Chris McDonnell, UK
what can we do?
Cardinal Martini concluded his final published interview with these words.
“I have a question for you: What can you do for the Church?”
That phrase is reminiscent of Kennedy’s inauguration speech in 1960.
“Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country”
Martini’s question is one that we should all ask of ourselves for these are difficult days for each one of us. The tensions and strains within the Church are only too evident and for many, the dissident voices are a challenge to faith.
But then the society in which we live is no easy place to rest your head. Many here in UK will remember the street disturbances that swept some of our cities in August 2011. Not in any way excusable but symptomatic of a great grievance and pain, a loss of direction, the lack of jobs and the paucity of hope.
So we must, individually and collectively, ask ourselves that question, and having asked it look for, listen for and seek an answer.
We might also paraphrase Reuben Feurestien, a professor of education who wrote many years ago:
If there are limits, I don't know them. And when we are not able to make a child function, then we have some kind of stiff finger which goes only in one direction: "it's his fault" One of the great problems is to make that stiff finger more flexible, towards oneself, towards society, towards the teacher: "Have I done all I need in order to change the child?"
Replace “the child” by “the church” and “the teacher” by each one of us, members of the church and then it begins to take on a different complexion.
We are where we are, how we got there is the experience of a pilgrim church. But all of us have a responsibility to take the next steps and if that means raising a critical voice, in charity, then so be it. But always in charity. Some contributors to the blogosphere seem to forget this. May Carlo Martini rest in the peace of the Lord.