Most of the Catholics were trained by having the principle of obedience implanted in their minds and hearts! One had to obey, no matter what. One wouldn’t dare to criticize a priest, let alone the bishop or the Pope! People used to ask the priest for lots of things…even to choose their partner for life! Yet against all odds, the scandal of the sexual abuse has managed to take away just that – the unquestioning authority of the church. How can I trust a priest when he abused ………. That was from the point of view of the tragic part.

On the other hand there are many more people who in the silence of their souls have different experiences which at face value may clash with the gospel. Parents may have a similar experience¬† when talking or listening to their beloved sons/daughters. Notwithstanding the teaching, examples, explanations, friendship of the parents, their own children grow differently. We call it cultural gap. The same thing happens in the church. Lay people are thinking differently. They live differently. They experience things differently. Now we’ve been used for centuries to compare our experiences with the gospel. We were never taught to listen to our experiences, to read between the lines and see what God might be telling us in our daily life. Inevitably a crisis was born. It’s not because some priests or lay people are rebellious. But it’s because they have grown in their faith and they are seeing a different road to walk through.

What many Catholics don’t know is that to question the church is a right and duty! Lay people are not there simply to obey. They need to grow up and show their true mettle. It’s not fair to expect Pope Francis to do it all alone. We need to prove that we are Catholics by living our faith in a different way. We find a similar challenge in the gospel when the apostles saw somebody who was mentioning Jesus’ name yet he was not known to the apostles. Jesus did NOT stop them. Jesus himself said that the tree proves itself by the quality of its own fruit! Many married Catholic priests are helping people to find God in a different way. We try not to exclude people from our congregations. We are truly open to all. That is the fruit of our communities.

These people have been calling for change in the church. People might listen or might not listen but these few people have grown into a large crowd. One might label them as outside the church. But in truth, they are baptized, they pray and celebrate the Eucharist and adhere to the basic teachings of the gospel. It could be the seed of the future which turns into a full blown tree.

I was really surprised reading on the internet the hope brought about by the new Pope Francis. It proved that even the so called atheists, they still love the Catholic Church and they still wish to have an updated church! People of other religions too joined the discussion by adding their own comments! This should be taken by the Catholic Church as a blessing. Many people directly or indirectly have shown respect. Now let’s do something about it. Those in authority should listen to all and meditate seriously.

Those who are leading ‘other’ Catholic communities, let’s unite and voice of our opinion. Let’s help Pope Francis to distinguish the voice of God for our times. Let’s give a solid formation to our congregations by leading them to become truly adults in faith. That would be the maximum that we aim for!

Finally I wish a unique happy birthday to my wife who has accompanied me in my journey of faith and has shown me God in her feminine way! May God Bless her forever.