I know this will make me even more unpopular on The Standard and The Daily Blog. Being Catholic will probably be seen as another reason to question my right to represent the Left; which is odd, given that there is a proud tradition of social justice in the Catholic church.
There’s a lot wrong with the church, but the fundamental principles of inclusiveness and compassion make it not dissimilate to the principles that built the Labour party over a hundred years ago (apologies to National party Catholics, Bill English and Jim Bolger!)
It is the original broad church. When it fails at that (and it has failed spectacularly in recent years) it must stop and take stock - ask why the pews are empty, and why it is failing to deliver on its founding principles.
So here’s what Father Michael McCabe said at mass today at St Patrick's church in Kapiti; he quoted a pastoral letter from Pope Paul VI written in 1975, where the Pope called for the leaders of the church to avoid distractions (excommunicating divorced parishioners for example) and return to the true purpose of the church.
Read this and think of the Labour party today.
‘This is how the Lord wanted his Church to be: universal, a great tree whose branches shelter the birds of the air, a net which catches fish of every kind…A universal church without boundaries or frontiers…I long for a church where the only boundaries are grace.”
Pope Paul VI December 1975