Tag Archive: Matteo Salvini


The power of a good community

Does anybody remember the story of Noah’s ark? If you have forgotten it then go to Genesis chapter 6 and read it!

Why do we start with this story? Well, some of our readers have been following this blog for quite a long time. I wish to say a big thank you. I’m really happy about it. It’s never an easy job to start a new community let alone an online one. Online-community has more challenges. We only meet through writing! It’s obvious that writing does not tell the whole story yet it is very crucial to communicate with each other. The fact that some people stayed here through writing is another hidden miracle!

A community is compared to Noah’s ark because we have several types of characters which is easily represented by the different types of species mentioned in the Bible. Some of them could be: there is the bee (busy person); elephant (somebody who thinks that he/she is the most powerful); the eagle (the one who sees far away); the horse (one who runs fast); the snail (the one who walks very slowly); the cow (a very generous person); skunk (a person who stinks – literally); chameleon (one who changes opinion in front of others!); monkey (one who takes advantage of others by climbing on their ‘backs’); the mouse (the one who works in the dark when others are not suspecting anything at all); the donkey (one who works a lot but most probably never gets a simple thank you) and many other animals.

Familiarity breeds contempt. It means that if one knows someone or something very well, one can easily become bored with them and stop treating them with respect. In other words, instead of respecting another person, knowing his/her week points, makes one treat others with disrespect! This is our phase at the moment where some readers are playing the part of God by judging others and using words to judge others. One can refuse to accept homosexuals but one cannot call them names or treat them with disrespect (just to mention one example).

I can mention an infinite number of private emails where some readers actually wanted to impose their opinion or values on our blog. They have called me names, judged me, tried to persuade me to delete some of the articles written. A few others tried to threaten me! Well I can write a whole book about adults behaving worse than children. Well, as I have experience with education, I know from first hand experience, that not all people would like to be taught notwithstanding all the buzz about the importance of education!!

One has to value one’s experience. It is one’s practical bible. God is telling something to somebody through his/her own experience. Therefore one has to value his/her own experience. Yet, it doesn’t mean that everybody has to come to the same conclusion! We cannot conclude that all priests are simply pulling women’s legs (although a large number do exactly that). There could be a unique story where love takes the right path and they get married! Why do we paint reality with a black colour? Or is it because we are still bitter about our own experience and we don’t like the idea that others could be more successful? In other words, are we jealous?

Others, surprisingly, think that whatever is being written on the blog, it’s done simply to tease them or to make them angry!! They are truly suspicious! A word of advice is never to mention names of other readers so there won’t be a direct reference – at least! If they are too sensitive, they should never write on a public forum!

I know as well that some people are still suffering from a past love experience with a priest. One can easily become bitter and tries to ‘bite’ other people! Maybe it’s time for such people to admit of having a problem and calling a professional counsellor who helps them to externalise what’s troubling them in a safe and positive way!

In the meantime, the ‘old’ readers can nurture or take care of new followers. The new ones will follow if what they read is ‘spiritually fit’ and helps them see God’s call in their private own lives. Please remember that the written word unlike the word which is spoken, remains there forever…even after your death! So please think before your write. If you’re angry, don’t write. Wait for sometime or a day or two.

In this case, as an editor of the blog, I would like to give the example of a captain on a ship. A captain should listen to what the sailors are saying, but finally it’s only him who has to decide. In a community too, somebody should serve the community by taking tough decisions. Now taking decisions means (sometimes) that some people are lost. This could be for various reasons but one of the most common one is that not everybody is trained to come to one conclusion whether one likes it or not. I do remember when I was in the friary, that trying to give voice to the people at first created more problems. Parishioners were invited to select the best time for mass. Well everybody gave a different time. There was no agreement. So we had to decide. Obviously those disagreeing with our decision said all sorts of words, but a community needs a decisive line of management after all. It’s like parents versus teens. Somebody has to decide whether you like it or not.

In any case, in Noah’s ark, all sorts of animals lived together! I’m not asking anybody to change his/her character, but to see everything from a different perspective – that of Noah’s ark. I will never ask somebody to leave (unless something really bad happens), but I would ask everybody to put on God’s glasses. Together we can make it. Yes all animals can live together if they have a strong community awareness. Let’s show and be that kind of community.

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Many people will ask every now and then….why don’t you priests, who have left the parish, convert to another religion?

Well everybody is free to answer that question according to his concience. There are no right or wrong answers. But surely one of the reasons which keeps us in the Catholic Church is the number of ecclesial documents which make us proud of our church! We studied, prayed and experienced the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Now we have this document by Pope Francis about the unique and rich area of the pan-amazonia.

It’s truly the true church which this pope is trying to make stronger. It is not simply a visit to this region. He wants to learn how they are successful in making the church a strong social element where others have failed (especially in Europe where churches are becoming similar to museums).

It is lead by the common people (women included which lead some to think that he is in favour of women priests). They do discuss many issues (mostly ecological but including justice). They decide which path to take. Finally they go for it! They are enlarging or putting under the religious discussion subjects which at first glance have nothing to do with religion. On the other hand it’s listening to what the people feel the need to discuss, which in the end is illuminated by the bible. It is the people’s church.

Unfortunately most journalists already missed the point by selecting one or two issues. It will be interesting to see how politicians are going to react to this document.

Surprisingly in many countries, nothing is heard of this document. We are referring to Catholic news agencies. As one commentator has commented, it seems that part of the church is boycotting Pope Francis!!

Let’s come to our part where it has given hope to many people that future priests maybe married. Well, it’s not simply that married priests are going to be part of the future and that’s it! The church has to become owned by the common people. The people have to show their fears, hopes, dreams etc… The communities have to become vibrant. Obviously, the communities are lead by couples. In this context, the couple which is animating the community, could be ordained a priest (referring to the man).

Introducing married priests in a church where the community is practically dead won’t bring about the necessary changes! Secondly, simply putting a married couple in a church where they don’t know the community and the community doesn’t know them, would be risking a lot.

We know that many people haven’t been to Amazonia or Latin America. One of the fundamental differences with Western Europe is that the spirit of community is so high! This is not only for the church but rather on every social level. It’s like the old life in our villages where everybody greeted each other and took care of each other.

The second reflection is that the church should be concerned with the environment. One because the environment is truly important (St. Francis had a long vision in this area notwithstanding living in the middle ages). This shows that the church is concerned with what the people experience. It’s not a study about religion with no reference to today! As one had said, one hand on the bible and one hand on the newspaper (referring to today’s concerns).

An interesting part is that of questions. I think it’s unheard of that the Vatican publishes questions in order to help all those discussing the theme! It’s another first for Pope Francis.

Readers have every right to access the document published by the vatican here.