Item: New York Times, 1/20/2013
“The Rev. Tony Flannery, 66, who was suspended by the Vatican last year, said he was told by the Vatican that he would be allowed to return to ministry only if he agreed to write, sign and publish a statement agreeing, among other things, that women should never be ordained as priests and that he would adhere to church orthodoxy on matters like contraception and homosexuality.
Why does the Vatican impose its “truth” upon those who dare to think “outside the lines?” Truth, if it be so, will eventually and always take care of itself. And how does the Church hear Jesus’ words, “Judge not, lest you be judged?”
Truth was never meant to live in a vault, in closed minds, nor in a vacuum where it cannot breathe. It is meant to dance with questions and enjoy the energy of their seekings. If truth be truth, it should know no fear of being challenged; only impatience with the limitations of human folly … such as exists in Rome, or in the mind of any “true believer” deluded by self-induced certainties.
Questions are the oxygen for real truth; they are the growing edge of enlightenment and need to be encouraged, respected, heard and embraced by open minds. Real truth need never be imposed. And real truth never diminishes either itself or those who know it. Truth is not a strait jacket but is meant to be worn as a loose garment.
Maybe that is why it is so priceless. The bits and pieces we know keep us hungry for more while inviting us to risk sharing that which we believe.
I was awake at 3 a.m. thinking about what I had written earlier and thought of Pontius Pilate. Who am I to try to answer his question?
Well, what I wrote is not an answer, just a mind-wince response to the arrogance of a certainty yet to be determined, one that diminishes rather than affirms. In the middle of the night I thought about the truth that Jesus offered us: the truth of himself.
Every word he spoke was from the heart and was always about love. Even his tears over Jerusalem. He referred to and lived out of the Old Testament but he never needed footnotes or the weight of the wise to bolster his belief. He shared his truth, never imposing it on others – simply offering it to those who “had ears to hear.”
So I concluded midnight that truth was not something “out there” but within. That when one puts words to the truth of self, questions and all, they need to be respected; and sharing the truth of self can be the true test of what one believes.
Truth is like power – both are genuine only when they are shared. Neither are meant to control or abuse but to nurture growth, honesty and, sometimes, enlightenment.