Pope Francis’ selection has revived various media-driven conversations along lines of “the church is out of touch” with whatever the particular speaker or writer wants to highlight.
Often, the comment points to a truth, for the Church is not now, nor has it ever been, absolutely correct about everything.
But strangely missing in these observations is the other side of the coin: “I am out of touch with the Church.” Our individualistic culture rarely allows that side of things to reach the table, preferring to leave it with “the Church is out of touch with me.”
From a spiritual formation standpoint, we should at least use moments of dissonance to raise questions in us–not just about the “other.” The Church does not always get it right, but neither do we. In the Church-culture debate, there are winners and losers on both sides. The Spirit creates moments of dissonance as much for “us” as it does for “them.”
We will never escape the feeling that “the Church is out of touch with us,” but may we never forget that “we are out of touch with the Church.” Perhaps at that intersection point we will find insight, not merely judgement. At least we will find that either/or thinking rarely leads us closer to God.