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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
April 25, 2010

From Crisis to Challenge (cont.)
                           
  This week we want to address our third question in this series, i.e., What is the role of the hierarchy in the Church?  It is important that we know and understand the role of the hierarchy in our church.  If we do not we can easily be led to believe that the church is other than it actually is.

First of all, most of us know that the hierarchy is made up of its bishops, cardinals and the pope.  Priests and deacons are not officially part of the “ruling class”.  They comprise the clergy, that group of ordained men who work more directly with the laity.  The hierarchy’s responsibility includes the governance of the church.  Together they meet to organize and discuss church teachings, establish church (Canon) law,  correct errors in teaching, give permission for the legitimate establishment of new religious communities, and oversee the well being of the Church overall.

Does the hierarchy ever make mistakes?  Most certainly.  They are all human beings just as we are.  Do they make all decisions on their own?  No, they do not.  Over the centuries the hierarchy has come to realize that they are not a well balanced group of people.  Consequently they often ask the opinion of well read and well educated women who have proven themselves both knowledgeable and sincere lovers of the church.  The hierarchy also consults with theologians ordained or otherwise who are knowledgeable in many areas of faith and doctrine. 

Are the members of the hierarchy all holy men?  It is unlikely that every member of the hierarchy has attained the status of holiness.  Holiness is a process whereby we journey in the presence of Christ.  Every one of us has our moments.  We all have doubts and questions.  We are all sinners.  Some of us are worse sinners than others.  And of course, not all members of the hierarchy are cut from the same cloth.  It stands to reason  that there are some who are more responsive to the work of the Holy Spirit within them. 

As in every family, the church has its saints and sinners.  Everyone has a purpose in life.  Only God knows this purpose and only God can read the hearts of his creatures.  If there are men who, in our opinion, should not be in the ruling class of the church, perhaps God sees otherwise.  Cleansing is done in God’s good time, not ours.  Since God is all knowing and all powerful we must trust that he will see to it that the church does not come to ruin because of any one person.  This truth has been proven many times over the centuries.  The Church has survived many less than holy men.

Does this mean that the church is indifferent to sinners or even evil deeds?  No, absolutely not.  The church does not give its blessing to sin.  If and when it happens, and it does, steps must be taken to rectify the situation.  The Church has never been known to act swiftly however.  In the real world we know that serious decisions take time. What we must remember is that the real head of the Church is Christ himself.

                            Lorette P. Nault