You cannot be a Catholic and sit on the sidelines

“You cannot be a Catholic and sit on the sidelines,” Washington’s Archbishop Gregory told hundreds of young people at a Theology on Tap meetup.

“To be a member of the Church means you’ve got to get in and get your hands dirty in the mix of the whole arena of faith from what we believe and profess to how we live and treat one another. … You can’t not invest yourself into this family.”

Gregory shared his distress over the priestly abuse scandals that have beset the Washington archdiocese over the past year and encouraged the young adults to turn to the Eucharist as a source of healing.

“I’m not quite as young as you, but I, too, am let down by the leadership in the Church,” Gregory said.

“I’ve been embarrassed. I’ve been embarrassed as a Catholic, as a priest and as a bishop because of the behaviour by some of my fellow clerics.”

He went on to explain to those present his views on belonging to the church family.

It means “you are invested in the life, the struggles, the pain, the joys that belong to being a member of this family, and that includes our faith, what we hold as true, and also it involves our investment in social justice dimensions of our faith” he said.

You can’t be a good Catholic invested in Eucharistic adoration, but unconcerned about the poor, those waiting to be born, those on death row. You’ve got to buy the whole lot.”

During his wide-ranging discussion that moved from his unexpected appointment as Washington’s archbishop to Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, Gregory made a commitment to restore the trust in his archdiocese.

He would do this mainly by being an “ordinary member of this local Church,” he said.

“That is, someone who identifies with the people, demonstrates that he is comfortable with his people, enjoys being with his people, and I will try to the best of my ability to continue doing that, to be available and immersed in the life of this local Church.”

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