So, for those of us Catholics--- and college hoops fans--- March Madness has sure taken on a whole new meaning. Papal brackets, Papal Bracketology, Conclave Madness. You name it! It's quite funny, but actually also kind of cool to see humor attached to such a seriously historical, spiritual, traditional, more so, ritualistic, process of selecting a new Pope, a new shepherd, a new leader of our Catholic church.
Now, as I often include (quite obviously insert) in my blogs, I must add one this time around. Wait for it, wait for it... Alas, here comes the DISCLAIMER! :) For one who has already voiced a sad disappointment in my church and some of it's MAN- MADE policies (yeah, yeah, I admit they are 500 thousand years old, but seriously??!!) that I am not a big fan of, it is still my church.
Sorry, I do own that. I am Catholic, and period. That is who I am, and I can't change that. Trust me, I have tried. ;)
It pains me, breaks the heart and proves to be one of the hardest things to justify, to be faithful and not question how human beings, some of us, are "treated" by certain teachings of the Catholic church. Oh oh, I am crossing a line, maybe... perhaps. I know some people reading this are indeed rolling their eyes.. ;) Smile, please, and lighten up. We all could use -- let's refrase that: the Church could use a little lighting up. Can we have a conversation, please??? Can we be faithful and loyal to church teachings, while keeping an acute eye and EAR to how the world is changing around us? Pretty please, can we??? I don't mean putting a band aid on clear and obvious issues and real hurt that has been done by our very own, dear church. What I mean is, own it, talk about it, apologize if you need to, FIX it, and make a decision that will heal and make the human family whole again.
This past week has been quite a learning experience. Not that the previous ones were not, specifically considering that the lesson itself is NOT a new one, certainly not transformational, but quite practical and part of our every day.
The lesson: building relationships is key for success... is key to happiness, is key to progress and it is how we human beings, a human family, should operate---- building strong, respectful relationships.
OK, done! Yeah, right?! It's easier said than done, you say. Well, I am an optimist, so I do believe. I do, sue me! Let's talk to each other first... Isn't that how you build relationships? Relationships are important at home, at work, in the community.
Did I just go on one of my tangents?? I think I did. Focus... Got it. Moving on.
So, conclave begins on Tuesday. Another somewhat disclaimer: I am not, nor ever pretend to be a theologian. I am simply a woman of faith. I am a believer, full of faith, I am---thanks, Yoda!
Today, at a talk given by the former US ambassador to the Holy See, students asked him to share thoughts on conclave and the new (sooner than predicted to be announced!) pope and the qualities this man should have. While I was more impressed with the ambassador's wife--also a theologian teaching at the university-- I resonated and appreciated with what he said: the new pope has to be a pastor!
The new pope needs to have, or should be questioned to have good skills in pastoral ministry. To be pastoral is to be compassionate. Don't we need that now more than ever? In a perfect world, the new pope will have a heart bigger than the norm, a strategic mind, sharp and with enough perspective to consider all angles to be played. The new pope needs to build relationships, mend broken ones and care...lord, he must care deeply for the human family. We are such complex individuals and collectively we make up what could be described as a dyscfuntional family, or certainly working/loving one in a dysfunctional environment.
The new pope needs a MBA. But if the pope is going to have a MBA, let's make sure it's from a Catholic college or university. ----National public announcement in support of Catholic colleges and universities---so he (not she--- sigh), can combine, in idealistic unison, skills in management, public relations, problem solving while keeping the mission and vision of his flock always a priority. In addition, a background in human resources, sociology and health care will be preferred qualifications.
We can dream, right?? But we must trust... We must trust in the men in red who come Tuesday, will begin the process of selecting our new leader.
Like I mentioned earlier... I am conflicted with certain aspects of our dear Catholic church, but I have faith, and that keeps me going. When I had the chance to attend and later officially join in Sunday worship services at another church, I stayed put. I have faith... I believe.
I am hopeful for a new leader to emerge that will indeed have compassion; a leader that will listen, learn and lead... My church needs a leader that will LEAD once he has LISTENED and LEARNED from what the people need, want, as a result of time... of how the world and the human family co-exhist now a days. It is 2013... NOT 1213. As my friend, William Joseph Chaminade, has taught us even over 100 years after his death, we must read the signs of the times and find the way to adapt to change. I am hopeful, I have faith... and I can't wait to see what this week brings..