We must move forward mindful of the conversion to which the whole church has been called and courageous enough to speak up when this conversion falters, writes CRA President Sister Ruth Durick osu.
As the new year begins there would be many mixed feelings within religious life and the Church in general. A new year invites optimism and promise. At the same time, we are confronted with the shocking revelations at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in relation to the Catholic Church.
Our liturgy for the beginning of the year reminds us all of our baptismal call to follow Jesus – ‘Come Follow Me’. This has been elaborated in recent weeks through the readings from Matthew which give us the road map through the Beatitudes of how we must follow Jesus. At the present time we are being given many indications of how this must be lived out in Australia in the 21st century.
We are called to humility, to hope and to hunger.
Humility in the face of the evidence before us and the extreme suffering of those who are victims of abuse. Humility in accepting how poor our processes as Church have been and how much we need to learn. The Royal Commission has provided many indications towards this.
Hope in a future which can, which must, be different. The future is calling all of us to truth and transparency; to compassion, collaboration and courage; to memory and challenge.
Hunger for justice, compassion and right thinking. This time in the Church calls for deep conversion, honestly facing the truth of a culture which has allowed such evil, and being prepared to commit to cultural change – change which will allow more collaboration in all areas of the Church, more transparency in process.
Many years ago Metz referred to religious as the ‘dangerous memory of the church’. We must move forward ever mindful of the conversion to which the whole church has been called and courageous enough to speak up when this conversion falters.