The Second Vatican Council, that rare conference within the Catholic Church, held more than 50 years ago, recognized a need to reconsider practices and allowed for the reinvention of the church for the modern world. Pope John XXIII, when describing his rationale for forming the Council, said “I want to throw open the windows of the church so that we can see out and the people can see in”.
The church’s leadership locally and globally, has set back the good works of John and the council and continues to “slam shut the windows of the church” on its members and others in the community. Our Buffalo Diocese, the home of our beloved Father Baker, a man who devoted much of his life to the care and protection of children, apparently thought, through many administrations, that it was more important to protect their own people and interests rather than the most vulnerable victims, our children.
Through their archaic business model and outdated teachings, they continue to “slam shut the windows of the church” by limiting opportunities for many good and moral people including women, LGBT and the divorced, many raised as Catholics, and as a result have alienated many more of its own followers and the rest of the community.
A lot has changed in our complex world in 50 years, and the church, who emphasizes learning and personal growth, has failed to do the same. They’ve preached basic beliefs that we’ve all “been created in God’s image” and to “love one another.” Time to practice it. Time to put into action the new word they’ve taught us, as we are all “consubstantial” with each other.
It’s time for our church leaders channel the spirit of Pope John XXIII, Father Baker and to open their eyes, hearts and minds and to grow based on what we’ve all learned about life in the most recent 50 years. Once again, they must “throw open the windows of the church” to include and to protect all of us.