I live in Atlanta. To describe our current climate in Atlanta as “unsettling” is a gross understatement. I see behaviors that show lack of respect for authority. I see many of those in a position of authority being unworthy of respect. I see uprisings nationwide demanding the abolishment of our police forces, institutions established for peace keeping. The tension is thick. Where is "love" for fellow man?
I am also a Catholic. The questions came to my mind and I wonder if others in my network have any thoughts to share…
Where would we be if the Catholic Church had shown the leadership and punished pedophile clergy who had abused their power and destroyed lives? As a universal Church, representing the truths of Christ’s love and God’s desires of man, what was and is the missed opportunity to clean house of those bad apples? We have NOT shut down those institutions nor have we shut down our schools where teachers abused students and went unpunished. Does this trickle down effect from the blind eye of the Catholic Church contribute to our current demand for justice and dignity for all? If men of God, servants and influencers who are charged with forming the conscience of their followers, are deviant and are NOT extracted, doesn’t that condone the behavior? Aren’t they an example for other institutions whether spiritually-oriented or not?
I recognize we have a choice about our place of worship, not our police force. Some might question my connecting the issues of social justice, civil unrest and faith. What I see on my social media feeds are a lot of people stressed out, exhausted and praying - in all faiths. Society is now beginning to pay the consequences for tolerance of abuse of power. Why are cops “with a record of misconduct” still on the job? Would any company allow an employee even a “three strikes you’re out” policy? We need these institutions. They are the fabric of our culture. “Throwing the baby out with the bath water” is rarely the best solution. I have not lost nor abandoned my faith because my Church has lost it’s leadership.
Perhaps we need to see true leadership – locally and globally. Brave leadership. The stakes are high. Few are prepared. More are scared. Even more are angry. I raise these questions philosophically, as an Atlantan and as a Catholic, with a heavy heart. I posted a note about VUCA two weeks ago. Looking back, it seems prophetic. I do not have all the answers but it does seem that VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity), elements of a perfect storm, are indeed unraveling our world. I remain optimistic that leaders with courage, integrity and ethics will rise up and prevail. Leadership means stepping up to do the right thing – the often unpopular, often scary, and often risky thing.