The mail delivered an invitation from Call To Action, CTA, to become a formal member. Strange, for I am not a joiner of acronymic groups. After a bold-faced "I've had enough!" the CTA flyer used just three phrases to describe the Church. They caught my attention, made me listen up, read on.
- Lack of accountability.
I would never belong willingly to any organization that so emblazoned its essence on all its members and commanded those three attributes as requisites for claiming to belong as a member. Of course not. Imagine what my response would be to this invitation: "Say! Hey! You. We're looking for some good and reliable men, practiced in and devoted to intolerance, injustice and lack of accountability. Come, join us and dominate the world."
I may be pig-headed, shallow, ignorant, but I am not intolerant, unjust, unaccountable. Never-the-less, how-some-ever, and-yet-and-yet, I used to fill in the form asking "Religious Preference?" with "Roman Catholic." That did a job on integrity, so much so, that I began to decline to answer, realizing that writing just "Catholic" is a cop-out blazing in shame. Then, I simply left that line blank. As blank as I was without a Church to call Church. I was flushed with anger at high priests who made the Church their own elite club, and confounded with shame for being a Catholic.
I am intolerant of the intolerant.
I seek justice. I chose to become a lawyer, shortly after leaving the Jesuits in 1957. That was my life's work until retirement in 2001.
I am accountable. In retirement, the two portions of my life became one, when the Jesuit years and the lawyer years merged, and I began to study the history and ecclesiology of the Church, in order to stand and speak and write truth to power. Both my Jesuit formation and legal training showed me with simple clarity that the issue for renewal of our Church is power and the abuse of power. From 2002 to date I have been writing on Religion and the Rule of Law, Church and State, the use and the abuse of Power. For that I am accountable.
CTA's invitation is timely. CTA looks more like Church than RCC, without claiming to be a new Church, because it is a part of the Church reaching out to those gasping in a dysfunctional Church. Family just doesn't walk away to found a new family. A friend had helped found Take Back Our Church, TBOC, not too long ago, and I joined. Why not, I thought, link them?
Time to stop fretting in "conjectures of a guilty bystander." Time for integrity, as well as faith, hope and love. Time to be Catholic rather than talk about it, write about it. Time to be active, within a group dedicated to tolerance, justice and accountability.
Today, I join CTA. Its invitation and my response are proof that the Holy Spirit is breathing.