Monday, 24 September 2012

I'm centre-left, and I sometimes feed adrift

I came across this blog post the other day:

His conclusions are pretty much aimed at American Catholics.    But I found a few part of the reasoning helpful for naming my own position and challenges.
"Ideological labels for the church are notoriously ill-fitting, but if we're going to use them, I prefer the European taxonomy of "left, center-left, center-right, and right"  ... most self-described moderates actually lean one way or the other, but their defining trait is a preference for consensus.
Yup,that one fits.

"... center-left, meaning Catholics whose instincts run to the liberal side but who still believe in working within the system ..."
That one too.

The center-left, however, sometimes seems adrift.
You can find these folks working in chanceries, ministering in parishes and teaching in Catholic schools, not to mention making up a good chunk of the rank-and-file. They don't like some of what they're seeing from Rome and the U.S. bishops, but they don't want to end up in opposition either. It's not always clear to them what the third option might be.

I've spent a lot of my church-life defining myself as "not":   not conservative, not radical, not a follower of any particular lay movement or religious order.   My understanding of my vocation is to serve God through service of humankind - every day, acting to make the world a slightly better place rather than a slightly worse one.  Very, very occasionally that means doing something profound.   Most of the time it means small actions, like leaving tempting-but-unkind comments un-said and being polite to people who I don't like.    I'm happy to encourage other people in their religious passions, and believe that the world needs some people who are single-minded about issues.   But mostly I'm not so single minded and don't see that my faith or church "must"  revolve around Lourdes, justice & peace, Padre Pio, the Child of Prague, opposing abortion, or whatever.   But I will work very hard so that all these single-issue-supporters can fit in.

What's particualrly nice about the NCR post is that it affirms that there are people like me.   Somehow it's a world view that doesn't get a lot of coverage, and that can be lonely at times

There was one more interesting quote too:
Today, two-thirds of the Catholics on earth live in the southern hemisphere, a share that will be three-quarters by mid-century.

What's most striking is that many northern hemisphere Catholics don't even realise just how profound the north/south differences are.  Whereas southern hemisphere ones grow up with an understanding that seasons - and thus seasonal liturgical paterns - are not universal.

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