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October 24, 2012 Chris McDonnell, UK
State of the Nation, State of our Church
I know that I write this blog from the UK, but having just viewed the after dinner comments from the Al Smith Foundation gathering in New York City, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the words of President Obama and Governor Romney. You can watch both clips of Obama and Romney on the NYT webpage
We are a matter of days from the Election date in the US when the decision will be made as to who will occupy the White House as the 45th President, a vital decision not only for the American people but for the whole planet we share.
Yet, in spite of the imminence of that date in November, both men were able to use humour to make their points, to gently and at times not so gently, chide the other for policies, attitudes and life styles that are fundamentally so different.
Maybe there is a lesson for us here as we debate and argue the circumstances of the church, our church, us, some fifty years after the Council of the Vatican. Charity, first of all, to those we disagree with. Secondly, a willingness to listen before we react and lastly trust that the Spirit will remain with the church through all our present turmoil.
There is a line from one of Bruce Springsteen’s songs on the CD Wrecking Ball that reads “we take care of our own”. At first glance it would appear selfish, but think on. It’s about family, about neighbourhood, it’s about people who need our help, all of which a Christian community has the responsibility to endorse.
Remember that oft-quoted phrase “See how these Christians love one another”. Maybe that is why Springsteen has come back into the debate to support Obama for a second term.
A just society must be a caring society, listening to the words of those at the bottom of the pile as well as those of others more fortunate, whether it be in the US, the UK or anywhere else on this small planet of ours.
Back to the humour.
It would be good to remind ourselves that the Bishops attended Vatican II, they may take their wives to Vatican III and possibly even their husbands to Vatican IV ……..
Let’s keep going.