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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Explosive canon

Former Maryknoll superior general, Father John Sivalon, maintains that according to canon law, dismissal from the Society requires the unanimous vote of the General Council plus one more Member, presumably the regional superior of the area to which the missioner belongs. No such vote was taken, and absent the requisite votes, the First Canonical Warning Letter to Fr. Roy Bourgeois may have been premature, if not moot.

This further muddies the murky waters in which Maryknoll finds itself. We are on record as threatening Roy with dismissal unless he recant. And if you know Roy, you know he can't recant. Our reputation for justice, let alone fairness, has taken a major hit already, no matter what happens.

Today's first reading at Mass proved providential. Acts 15:1-6 speaks of "no little dissension and debate" between Paul and the Judaizers regarding circumcision being necessary for Gentile converts. Paul and Barnabas were sent by the church to Jerusalem, and the church there received them with joy, despite their bringing a controversial issue for discussion.

Fr. John Eybel, who was main celebrant, brought this up as a model for how we, gathered in assembly, might approach our own current controversy.

Can we break out of the atmosphere of fear and receive one another with joy in the Holy Spirit?

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