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'Don't even think about it' just isn't working anymore

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Change always happens one way or another. If it happens through the system, we call it evolution. If it happens despite the system, we call it revolution. The problem is that the spirit of revolution -- that unguided burst of change so often triggered by frustration or despair -- is in the air now, politically, economically and spiritually.

Almost half a century after the opening of the first session of the Second Vatican Council in October 1962, there is a new spirit in the church.

But the spirit that is rising in this church no longer pulses with the promise and energy of Vatican II. There is little sense of new possibilities now. The council’s mandate to welcome the fresh air of the Spirit has gone stale.

But not completely.

Read the full column here: 'Don’t even think about it' just isn’t working anymore

We need St Francis now

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Some things never go way. The best ones, in fact, come back to us in whole new ways. Saints are like that.

The church calendar that formed me, for instance, provided the Catholic community one feast day after another designed to remind us of the heroes of the Catholic community. On those days, congregations held special masses, sang special songs, prayed special prayers and blessed special statues.

It's the heart that makes the ministry

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There are ministries. And there are ministries.

Some ministries in life a person can spend a lifetime planning. Like how to become a paramedic or how to join the fire department or how to go about being an advocate for people in need. In all those ways, and many more like them, some special kinds of people set out to serve those who need a hand up in hard times or continuing support even in good times. Those positions we institutionalize. Those things the rest of us take for granted these others will do. These people we call the professional guardians of a society.

Wanted: women of spirit in our own time

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The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is meeting in Dallas this week under scrutiny from Rome and with a cloud hanging over its head.

What shall we think about such a time as this when the women religious who have built, carried, led and staffed every work of the church from the earliest days of this nation to this present time of turbulence and transition are being accused of being unorthodox, unfaithful, and unfit to make adult decisions about what they need to hear and who they want to have say it?

The problem is that in the face of opposition they have also been unafraid.

Read Chittister's full column here: Wanted: women of spirit in our own time

About that other shoe

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"I don't understand it," she said to me. "We're Americans, too. Why don't they see the good of what we're doing."

She was Daisy Khan, who with her husband Iman Faisal Khan are leaders in the movement to open the Cordoba Islamic Cultural Center in New York City.

I could see the disappointment, the frustration, in her eyes as she spoke. What can you say to anyone at a time like this? After all, does anybody ever really 'see' what anybody else sees?"

Read Chittister's full column here: About that other shoe.

Apostolic Visitation: Why Bother? Why be Bothered?

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The question is, why bother? That’s the question rumbling under an otherwise polite attempt to participate in a process based on non-participation.

While the world goes on to bigger things–like oil spills that threaten an entire body of water in addition to all the beaches and marshes and wildlife and families they harbor; while women religious themselves go steadfastly on serving the poor, working for justice, and attempting to make peace among peoples of every faith and culture; and while the church universal continues to deal with the effects of sex scandals everywhere, church embezzlements everywhere and the closing of churches and missions worldwide, the investigation, inquisition, and/or evaluation of women religious in the United States–whatever the euphemisms for it–continues on its weary way. Oblivious, it appears, to all those other things.

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April 11-24, 2014

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