Why is it that everyone is p****d because they haven’t been given immediate directions to go out and start committing serious numbers of hours to committees, investigations, interviews and policy development when we can’t get enough people to volunteer to do ANYTHING the Church asks for? We can’t get people to attend an hour of Adoration a week, teach CCD, serve at the altar, lector at Mass, run bible studies, run the food pantry, provide baby sitting services during Masses or clean the Church on a regular basis, but suddenly we are going to have bunches of lay committees to oversee every priest and bishop in the land to be sure there are not erring? Do we have any idea how labor intensive it will be to change the entire structure of how the Church works?
Please hear me. I am NOT at all against any of these things. We do, however, need to know what we are suggesting and we need to step up. EACH lay person.
Answering lay faithful questions/complaints/statements, setting up lay committees, overseeing the behavior of clergy, having an active and powerful lay presence in the Church, influencing decisions and demanding accountability and transparency —> These are great and biblicaly based interventions that have the potential to air out and renew our Church! But let me ask you a question: how many (please be as specific as possible) hours will you, personally, be able to volunteer to your church to get this put into place? I do an hour to two hours of prep and teaching CCD once a week after my full time job and I lector almost every Sunday. Nothing, right? You’d be surprised…it’s more than it seems. It is a constant conflict with something else, it seems, to do volunteer work. Ninety five percent of people I know tell me I’m crazy to volunteer. “Couldn’t do it” they say. And our apostolates show it…everyone has a reason why they can’t do it or can only do half of it. So, if bishops and priests are used to moving forward without lay involvement, why is that? It’s because lay people are giving fewer and fewer hours every year to their church. They are not reliable (not necessarily their fault…probably a reflection of the busy times) and churches HAD to go forward without lay involvement.
And how much MORE are you (or anyone) willing to put in the collection plate for it? Transparency is expensive. It’s labor intensive. Even if some labor is free, lawyers and policy makers and those who take such huge responsibility for implementation, maintenance and oversight of those policy just don’t generally come free. And I understand that. And the laborer is worth his wage.
So, yes. We SO need lay people involved. We SO need transparency. We SO need checks and balances. But it’s a combination of a culture of secrecy and pushing lay people out that is possible because of decreased laity involvement (again, not a fault…a fact).