2 Essential Lenten Resolutions

Ok, at this point in Lent, our resolutions are not unlike our New Year’s resolutions.

We start out with good intentions and, well, you know the rest. But I’m offering two that each one of us can embrace and which will serve the Church and the world.

Hold on.  I’m getting ahead of myself.

This past weekend, I attended the LA Religious Ed Congress. I know, many of you thought people like me should either not attend the REC or would not survive the REC. Here’s my advice: attend the REC next year.

Did I agree with all of the content offered? Nope. But people are allowed to have different opinions, even in the Catholic Church.

Nevertheless, there was a lot of really good content. And the exhibit hall is a must for anyone involved in anything Catholic.

But the strongest take away came from a place that I wasn’t expecting: John Allen’s talk, “The Francis Revolution: The Papacy at the One-Year Mark.” Don’t get me wrong, I admire John Allen’s expertise immensely. In fact, that’s why I went to the talk. I was looking for his analysis of the Francis papacy. He gave that. Superbly. But his analysis provided the basis for two Lenten resolutions that we can all take to heart. [Full disclosure - I know John and really appreciate his description of me in his book Opus Dei, which was something like, "an intelligent, sometimes brash, young woman."]

Allen is a fan of Francis, as he was a fan of Benedict. And he will strongly dispute the Francis good, Benedict bad narrative. He gave some vignettes to demonstrate the Francis effect. Simply put, the world is taken with Francis. Consider his effect in the US alone. Allen cited a recent CNN poll that puts Francis’ approval ratings at 88%. Almost 90% of Catholics in the US agree upon something. That in itself, as Allen noted is huge. When was the last time 90% of Catholics in the US agreed on anything?

Allen went on to lay out why he calls Pope Francis the Pope of Mercy. Francis lives mercy, preaches mercy, communicates mercy, and – not for nothin’ – has emphasized the sacrament of mercy, namely confession/reconciliation. [An audio recording of Allen's complete talk can be ordered here. You may have to wait a few days/weeks for them to be posted online. The talk was Workshop 7-01.]

So what to do with this “missionary moment”? Here are his suggestions:

1. Stop using the Pope as club to beat up on other members of the Church. Give it up for Lent.

2. Despite the age of social media, we don’t have to have an opinion on something the Pope says or does minutes after it happens. Give it up for Lent. Instead, sit with it, meditate on it, pray with it. Try it for Lent.

The whole world is looking at the Church. We need to be a Church that the rest of the world wants to be part of, not a Church that they just want to watch for entertainment or scandal. Almost every lapsed Catholic (or other person who’s decided not to become a Catholic) can point to an experience where they saw, even encountered, a Catholic behaving badly.

In the words of Bob Newhart, “Just stop it.”

 

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11 thoughts on “2 Essential Lenten Resolutions

  1. Chris says:

    Excellent article.

  2. morganB says:

    I still question Benedict and his Cardinal brother Georg about how much they knew of the Munich Boys Choir rapes. And, it was appropriately reported that Francis has been dragging his feet on properly dealing with the pedophile plague. A prime example… Cardinal Mahoney of LA, who was never criminally charged, was allowed to go to Rome and cast a vote for Pope. All this was happening while the LA Diocese was shedding $13 million in retribution to the pedophile victims. WOW!

    1. Brian says:

      How is a Cardinal being allowed to perform one of his obligations (voting for the Pope) an example of then-Cardinal Bergoglio dragging his feet?

      First, there was no authority to keep Cardianal Mahoney from attending the Conclave and voting. If a Cardinal is not over the age-limit, it is up to him to decide is he should attend or not.

      Second, even if there was some authority to do so, why would it be up to an archbishop from another continent, even antoher country, to exercise that authority?

      1. morganB says:

        Mahoney should be in jail along with Law and many others. Did you ever hear the term “cover up”? Well it applies in these cases. Church “law” can never displace civil law. The church has many criminals. Moreover, this website chooses not to offer a blog on that sore subject. Head in the sand??

  3. Janet O'Connor says:

    While I agree with this article in principle, the fact remains that the Pope is creating confusion and division perhaps not of himself but of the close advisors around him. Some have hinted to the press he is going to change ALL Moral teaching. This is a fact. Stop ting to ignore it or deny it.

    1. Slats says:

      He can’t “change moral teaching.” He doesn’t have the authority to do so.

      Re: his advisers, I am with you in that I have grave concerns about Cardinals Marx and *especially* Rodriguez. To quote an archbishop who is quite dear to me (he wasn’t talking about Rodriguez), “his faith is not my faith.”

  4. Mike says:

    This Pope has a Ora of calmness about him. He loves and cares about every human on earth. His smile is a peaceful one. He is full of the devine spirit, like when a person comes out of confessional.
    The Pope has many hats. But his first hat is for God’s flock, I am sure he prays for all souls especially the evil ones to repent and rise from sin into healing and have a close relationship with Jesus Christ.
    Pray for Holyness Francis.

  5. Allen H says:

    A few months ago, Bob Newhart dropped out of performing for a Catholic group because radical homosexuals told him not too. Since that act of cowardice Bob is not so funny.

  6. Ken H says:

    I think that the last time 90% of “Catholics” agree on anything is every Sunday – isn’t that about the percentage of Catholics that do not regularly attend Sunday Mass? It is some high number like that (or low Mass attendance number, the flip side of the coin.)

    1. Pia de Solenni says:

      Close. It’s about 75%. http://cara.georgetown.edu/CARAServices/requestedchurchstats.html. However, in Italy, it would be about 90%.

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