Pre-PMPCIII – take input seriously
The pre-PMPC III convention for the clergy and the laity are over. At the pre-convention for the laity that just concluded (April 29 – May 1,2006) a number of interesting issues were raised as reported in Herald dated May 14.
Some of these issues were: 1. Pastoral care should focus on family and BEC. 2. Clergy-laity relationship 3. Laity’s voice, maturity and intelligence underestimated and not utilized 4. Open dialogue, transparency and accountability in parishes 5. Establishment of a laity-clergy diocesan council. 6.Mid-term review of PMPC 7.Christian Institute of leadership training 8. Growing crisis in marriage and family life. 9 Concern of family institution 10.Youth not given serious consideration 11.Lack of basic facilities in small parishes 12. Islamisation and marginalization of minorities by the government
Amidst all these discussions, Archbishop Murphy Pakiam’s call to the laity to be united in faith, hope and being one in Jesus is timely and as Christians we must all heed his call.
Regrettably the one common grouse among the participants at all three diocese was regarding the unfavorable clergy-laity relationship. In fact the first 5 issues above relate to this problem. This unhealthy relationship was felt very deeply by all the participants and if you were to conduct a survey would also be the grouse by lay Catholics all over the country.
With gradual loss of mutual love and respect, the clergy-laity relationship is deteriorating over time and in some places has resulted in ugly untoward incidents. This is unbecoming of the followers of Christ who are asked to in faith, hope and being one with Jesus.
There is an urgent need to foster a better clergy-laity relation based on the unselfish and non-egoistic love of Christ. In this relationship all are equal. The laity lament that the talents and skillful qualities are not being appreciated by the clergy, who consider themselves superior and indispensable. The clergy on the other hand have some preconceived perceptions that the laity is ignorant, over demanding and unrealistic.
There should be mutual love and respect for each other, realizing that we all workers in the Lord’s vineyard, where He alone is the master. Each of us, either laity or clergy, is bestowed with the love of Christ in the form of our talents and skills, to be shared freely with one another. Unless we can do that we will not be worthy followers of Jesus Christ.