CNS photo/Paul Haring
By Drew Dillingham
Catholic News Service
(Sixth in a series)
ROME — During class this week, a student asked the professor why it takes so long for things to get done in the church. The professor answered with an analogy. He asked students to raise their hands if they had changed their seats since the first day of class. Not one hand was raised. The professor then asked how many people would have been happy if he told them to change their seats. Again, no one raised his hand. Lesson learned: people are naturally resistant to change.
The reality is that real and transformative change does not come about quickly or easily, especially in large institutions. This is not an excuse — it is a fact. It takes the hard work, patience and perseverance of many dedicated individuals, as well as the grace of God, before change begins to take root.
It is also important to note that resistance to change can also be positive — change isn’t always a good thing. Change in the church should only come about when necessary and should find its foundations in Scripture, her own traditions and teachings, as well as reason and science. When it does so, the church is not intrinsically changing but merely becoming a truer version of herself. The church can better serve Christ and his people, and ensure her efforts to protect and heal the most vulnerable resemble those of a loving mother through this type of change.
When considering how to bring about necessary changes, we must remember that the church is one body, composed of many members. Therefore, steps need to be taken if we are to overcome the natural resistance to positive change at both institutional and individual levels. This is particularly true when considering our efforts in the safeguarding of minors and reconciliation with those who have been abused.
Painting of Jesus healing a blind man by El Greco (Source: Wikipedia)
In this context, change at the individual level does not simply come from the creation and adherence to new policies and procedures, but rather through repentance and a complete conversion of our hearts. According to the Catechism, “conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him.” We cannot rely on ourselves to bring about or even know of all the change that is necessary within the church. Like (Read More)