Don Cahalane stated in his letter (March 26) concerning the modernising of the Catholic Church that “the Church at its most basic is a community of believers”!
But this important word, ‘community’, rhythms with another important word, communication’. Now I consider that all members of any worthwhile community must hold some discussion between each other about issues pertinent to the purposes and existence of the their own community. If they do not do this regularly, they must (despite their outward appearances) eventually become strangers to each other.
For example, this failure could happen if the people belonging to a town community do not talk about their own town. Such a town would very likely stop being a thriving town that can keep all inhabitants permanently and happily together.
Also, if every businessperson in a business community were to stop talking to each other about buying and selling their products, then their businesses would soon stop making money.
Then, too, if an ethnic minority didn’t celebrate and pay attention to the unique cultural offerings from its own people and individual members, then its culture could soon become identical to the majority culture of the nation it exists in.
If then Catholics do truly believe that they are actually part of a real community, then they should ask themselves how many times they talk about God and the Gospel with other Catholics living near them? Do they comment with each other regularly or even a few times about what their priest actually preaches at Holy Mass concerning the Gospel each Sunday?
I would hazard a guess that very possibly only a quite small or select minority of Catholics actually do this spiritually healthy practice of regularly expressing their own feelings about what the Bible and Mass means to them with other Catholics.
But if, at times, some Catholics do rightly talk about religion together then sadly those occasions may not often include (if at all) other Catholics who are outside their immediate family circle.
By setting a bad example of what an active community should do in the 21st century, the Catholic Church also encourages other communities in society to become as lackadaisical and as hypocritical as itself in the practical operations of a true community. This way it sadly devalues for the whole of society the very word “community” itself!
- Sean O’Brien