Building a people-friendly church

Arrogance will drive away many

I sympathize with “A concerned Catholic’ from KL for his bitter experience in his church as contained in his letter “Is the Church turning away its faithful?” (Herald,July 25)

He was right in saying that nobody wants to come late for church and in most cases there could be genuine reasons for coming late or leaving early. Drastic action like closing the door to late comers or passing rude remarks from the pulpit is unwarranted and could only be seen as an act of arrogance.

Such high-handed behavior would only drive away many members who truly love the church. It is this love and concern for the church that prompts people to complain about what they see as not right. The church must consider such complaints seriously if it wants to remain relevant to the people. Instead of appreciating the efforts of those who care, regrettably there is a tendency to marginalize and penalize them.

I fully agree that people must be disciplined to be punctual. It is distressing to note punctuality has become a rare commodity among Malaysians. While I fully agree that late comers must be discouraged but it should not be at the expense of the many who are late for genuinely unavoidable reasons.

In a life that is so challenging people have numerous problems to handle and they go to church to get some solace, encouragement and guidance to manage their problems in the way Christ would like them to do. Many among them may not be able to cope with certain crisis in their lives and families and may be considering resorting to drastic measures like violence, divorce and even suicide as a means to escape from the pain and agony. It could be a tragedy for the church to drive these desperate people away by rude remarks and actions without trying to understand their plight

It is time for the Church and our priests to be more people-friendly. They must learn to appreciate the problems of the people and not just implement laws as they wish without considering their effects on the faithful. Laws are there to enhance our relationship with one another not hinder our Christian life by provoking anger and hatred towards one another.

It may be relevant for us to ponder on the recent remarks of Pope Benedict XVI, regarding the sexual-abuse scandal in the US and Europe, “The greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sin within the church." If sex scandals are causing the downfall of the church in Europe and the US, arrogance, if not checked, may cause its downfall here.


家唐銘 said…