The People Speak Out

Local voices connecting globally

This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.  (Pope Francis)

Canon Law 212 calls upon the laity to speak up:

2 - The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. - According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

When I was a young Jesuit novice in 1963, my father came to visit me. We walked through the grounds of a beautiful orchard and, after an initial greeting and cordial exchanges, my father broke into tears, sobbing. I was shocked. I had never seen my father crying. In my amazement, the only thing I was able to say was: “What’s the matter? Why are you crying?” I believe that my black Jesuit cassock gave him permission to cry. After a long pause, he said: “This morning I went to confession. I told the priest that I enjoyed sexual intercourse with your mother but I cannot permit another pregnancy. I am having a hard enough time supporting five of you. I know we are living in poverty already.” At first I was shocked at his brutal honesty from my father at my tender age of 22. ‘The priest said he could not give me absolution because my sexual act was not intended for procreation and that was against the Church’s teaching. The priest closed the screen separating us and I was left with utter disgust with myself not knowing what to do. I knew there was something wrong here, not with me, but with the priest who handled my confession so cruelly in the name of the Church.”

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