Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A cura rockero's vision for the Church

I've been reading Padre Jony's Notas de un cura rockero (Espasa, 2009) for Lent. It seems like a continuation of the spirit of those who signed the Pact of the Catacombs, about which we blogged yesterday, and it's a welcome break from the ongoing child sex abuse scandals or the Church's obsession with sex translated into public policy. We can sometimes forget that Jesus talked a lot about justice and the poor, and virtually not at all about what people do behind their bedroom doors.

Padre Jony's book provides the requisite biographical information, the background and lyrics to his songs, and accounts of some of his mission experiences, including a harrowing carjacking in Honduras when he was driving a mission van full of children. No one was hurt but the robbers escaped with the van. And the rock n' roll priest lays out his vision for what the Catholic Church should become (pp. 135-136, English translation by Rebel Girl):

  • A more "missionary" Church, a braver one, one that goes out into the streets, that advances along with humanity, instead of being twenty years behind it; one that takes Pentecost as its point of departure, when the wind of the Spirit carried away its security, its walls and protections, and left it open to the elements of life. On that day, it saw the world, its hunger, its violence, its suffering, its loneliness...For the first time, it heard the world crying and left its fearful and unproductive confinement.
  • A more "good Samaritan" Church, one that doesn't go down the road with a cold and distant attitude, but with a sensitive heart. One that doesn't make a detour when it meets a difficult problem or a needy person, but instead approaches and does what it can to help and gets involved.
  • A more "good shepherd" Church, one that, when it realizes a sheep is missing, is able, like the good shepherd, to leave the ninety-nine remaining ones and go out to look for it, even though it is night, ready to face all sorts of danger...until it finds it, and then throws a "feast".
  • A more "merciful and less severe" Church. As John XXIII said: "Nowadays however, the [Church] prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity." (Opening Speech for the Council of Vatican II, 15, BAC, p.753)
  • A "humbler and non-imposing" Church: the Church must bring its viewpoint on whatever issue is affecting human beings, but with humility, amicably, with a vocation to joyful service to humanity, not as an imposition. You attract more with a drop of honey than a drop of vinegar. It's important for the Church to make its voice heard in debates in society, agreeing to dialogue, but remembering that in a plural society, it is not the only institution.
  • A "simpler" Church, one that shows that it is possible to be happy on earth without money and without power. Jesus said: "You cannot serve both God and mammon." (Mt 6:24) "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!...It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." (Mk 10:23-25)
  • A Church that holds "love" as the highest law, one without so many burdens that it cannot even bear them itself.
  • A Church with more "hunger and thirst for justice", one that supports those who fight to defend the weakest.
This is the kind of vision we need if the Church is going to bring back all the disaffected young people who are tired of the scandals, the abusive and high-handed behavior, and who no longer believe the Church has anything to say about the issues they care about such as a clean environment, economic justice, and protecting other young people like themselves from war and exploitation. We need Padre Jony's voice -- be it writing, singing, preaching, or rapping.

1 comment:

  1. O.K, R.G,...we need the screeming guitar scratching rockero noi de Tarragona ;-)