One would certainly hope that no segment of the church feels triumphant or gleeful over the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini’s remarks about the church. The former archbishop of Milan cautioned of possibilities of losing future generations because of the church’s stance on issues of today.
European media appropriately pointed to his courage to “tackle sensitive issues with an open-mindedness rarely found” in the church. There is the quality stressed over and over again in this domain: courage to act. Courage to accept and learn from a mistake.
These are the late Cardinal Martini’s words in an interview published posthumously: “The Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change…to take a journey of transformation”. In so many ways, he spoke for, and to, the universal church.
It is to be pointed out too that there was tremendous opposition to his views from those of his ranks. But he proclaimed his vision with courage and steadfastness.
Today we also remember Gregory the Great, who faced equally challenging issues of his day during the medieval period and gave all his energy to answer his call. Often doctrines of the church translate into unbearable burdens for the people. It is the courageous who can translate them for the service of the people of God.
Cardinal Martini raised this question: “Why don’t we rouse ourselves? Are we afraid?” When the church faces the issues we face today, why are we afraid to deal with them? Or may be it is easier to relegate them to doctrine. Consider too, what Gregory the Great wrote in the Homilies on the Gospels: “Perhaps it is not after all so difficult for a man to part with his possessions, but is is certainly most difficult for him to part with himself. To renounce what one has is a minor thing; but to renounce what one is, that is asking a lot”.