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Christmas 2014


As we have entered a new liturgical year and anticipate the new calendar year, it is a good time to reflect on priorities.


My first thoughts were on John the Baptist.  Who was this person and why is he important?  To me, he was one who was probably frustrated with what he saw around him.  The leadership of the people of Judea seemed to have completely sold out to the Romans.  As long as they complied with Roman wishes and did not make any waves, they were able to keep their jobs.  They could stay in their warm homes and wear fancy robes that showed they were important.  The alternative was really not all that attractive.  If they spoke up and objected to how the people were being treated, they would not just be removed from their jobs.  It was likely that they would be killed.  


Nevertheless, John saw it differently.  The "voice crying out in the wilderness" understood their complicity to be a moral as well as a political matter.  If compromising your journey with God was just a matter of keeping your job then the price was far too low.  God calls us all to stand for justice and ignore the risk.  If all of the leadership refused to cooperate, and in turn, all of the people followed that lead, then Rome would not have been able to control all the people.  Rome had demonstrated before that it understood that it needed to incorporate the local traditions when they conquered a land.  


So it is with us.  If our leadership would refuse to cooperate with the elites around the world, then the people would follow.  Instead of cooperating with secular leadership that devalues the rights of all citizens, the USCCB could be on the forefront of social justice.  This is an issue that goes well beyond the abortion issue.  First, they have to model the way.  That means equality for women, the ability for families to make their own decisions in terms of their composition, and respect for the dignity of all people.  The church leadership should not show favoritism for the wealthy but should live in the preferential option for the poor.  


So John the Baptist is something of a model for us.  We should be willing to risk much to call upon the leadership to repent and prepare the way of the Lord.  In doing so, we should also recognize that we may be risking our position in the church.  Nevertheless, all Catholics should have the right, along with the responsibility, to stand for what is just.  

My other reflection is on the words used in the Gospel of John.  John begins with "In the beginning was the Word..."  The actual Greek word used is logos, from which we get the word logic.  When we think of logic, we think of reason or purpose.  So, in the beginning was the reason.  The reason is the initiator of all being.  The reason is what became flesh.  God chose to be incarnate.  This is not a matter of obligation or a requirement in order for God, the Source of All Being, to be appeased. It is because God chose to be more intimate with creation.  This means that we, in turn, are called to be more intimate with God.  That is an extraordinary calling but one that is made to all of us.


If that is so, then none of us can be closer to God because of some position that is created by humans.  So, that is why this year we will be talking about clericalism and bullying in general.  We are embarking on a challenging journey to call our church leadership to reflect God's love and desire for intimacy.  We will take the risk necessary to be as direct as John the Baptist.  


I ask for your help in this incredible journey.  We know we cannot do it alone.  First, I ask for your prayers.  It is only with God's grace that anything can be accomplished.  Second, I ask for your participation. Tell us your stories of clericalism and bullying.  


Finally, I ask for your support. This year we are very serious about stepping up our efforts.


A big part of this will be strengthening our ties with all the other reform groups.  That takes time, and yes, money.  It is only through your support that we will be able to accomplish anything.  I especially ask those of you who have enjoyed our newsletter but have not become members of ARCC, to consider taking that next step and joining to help us out.


I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a most blessed New Year.


Patrick B. Edgar, DPA


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