Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Whose is the Church?

Need to adopt a more professional attitude

It was encouraging to note that you have published a number of letters expressing liberal opinions from your readers in the Herald recently. At a time when increasing fundamentalism is creeping into the Church and its publications, it is indeed a relief know that Herald is still willing to publish views of the so-called liberal Catholics.

The lettersDeal with injustices in the Church first by Paskaran of Ulu Tiram and “Are we living moral, credible lives?” by Dr Leslie Petrus of Johor Bahru two such letters published on 20 May 2007.

I fully agree with Paskaran that the church belongs to the People of God which consists of the Pope, bishops, clergy, religious and laity and we are all equal before God although we may differ in our roles and functions. This is what we mean by the famous slogan of the church “We are the Church”.

Although the laity consists of 99% of the Catholic Church but does the church really belong to them? Do they have any significant say in the running of the church? Today there is abundant talent among the laity in the various fields. We have experts and professionals in all fields – medical, accounting, teaching, legal, engineering and construction. Why aren’t these experts brought in to build the Kingdom of God?

In keeping with the times, the church has to adopt a more professional attitude in its dealings. The time has come to employ qualified lay people being as church administrators at the various levels to manage the day to day running and financial management of the parish. This would be a great relief our priests who can then concentrate fully on their pastoral duties for which they are trained. That is the vocation to which they are called by God.

Financial management is far from satisfactory. There is a need for greater transparency and accountability in monetary dealings. Many of us may not be regular church goers but we are never miser when it comes to contributing to the church. We are told of the amount collected at Sunday masses but not how is the money spent.

We are very quick to condemn the atrocities when committed by outsiders but blatantly disregard the calls to reform in our own structure and administration. Gone are the days when the laity is ignorant and illiterate. Today they are more knowledgeable and educated, not only in secular but religious issues as well,

We are going into an era where the lay people are going to increase the demands for greater accountability and transparency in all the dealings of the church. They are not going to accept anything, just in the name of God, without justification.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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