We live in the post-modern era in which almost all authority is questioned. And I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.
Trouble is that I think some of my confreres in the priesthood and church still operate in an old way, in which authority exists by virtue of office. In other words, people must believe me because I am a priest, bishop, cardinal, youth minister, nun…etc. And we wonder why young adults and youth are leaving the faith?
I saw some of this attitude in the seminary, with a few men who started, thinking that they would have this power…and found out otherwise. AND, in my weak moments too, I wish that I had this type of authority; it would have made some situations go a lot smoother.
Yet, I have seen the power that giving witness, being a living witness to the faith. When I have been honest in my struggles with being Catholic, with trying to be honest to Christ, I have heard back from more people in a positive way.
I do believe that it what Pope Francis is trying to elicit. And it is so refreshing!
I feel there is much more power in giving living witness and I think we as church need to do this. Overcoming the scandals will not be done through legislation and moral proclamations from high seats, but rather through us getting dusty and dirty on the way because we are living the faith and we are honest in it.
Of course the temptation is always there for me for the adulation that comes with being a priest, the better seats at dinners, first served at functions…and sometimes that is nice.
But in the end, I want to recognize that there is something much more valuable than my comfort…
there is the Good News, there is the need of my brothers and sisters.