Hadje C. Sadje
“We humbly ask for forgiveness for the part that each of
us with his or her behaviors
has played in such evils thus contributing to
disrupting the face of the church.
At the same time, as we confess our sins let us forgive
the faults committed by others towards us.”
Pope John Paul II
On March 12, the first Sunday of Lent, John Paul II will publicly ask the Lord's forgiveness for past and present faults of the children of the Church. Interestingly, when I heard this I am really surprise how the Catholic top religious leader admittedly and reflective in behalf of his leadership to sin committed by the Catholic Church in the service of the so called universal Truth. I am Muslim by birth. The knowledge I have is that the Christianity is the religion of colonizer and land grabber. I remember my teacher in Madrasha (it is a secular or religious school for the Muslim children) thought us that the Crusaders are the militant Christian who kills our ancestors and took our land. Bitterness and vengeance are the emotion that developed in my mind and heart. I describe before the Catholic Christian as evil, highly political, close-minded people, and western instrumental to the oppression of the Filipino Muslim. This view last until my family had a problem, my mother and I separated from my father. We fled together with my brothers from Mindanao to Manila. New environment and community I encountered, it is a new world for me. First time here in Manila I am little bit struggle to be with the Christian community because they have a different lifestyle and world-view. The new environment helps me to cope and overcome my biases with the Catholic Church. Suppressing, how the priest talks with their parishioners, treat the non-Christian community, at least, in this Parish used to invite me to join with their Bible study group. I wonder from the first time because this transparochial community reaches me to know the Catholic faith. Why I wonder? Because it is not the old style structure of the Catholic used to be. Times go on, I am became part of the community and it helps me a lot to deepened my spirituality and to discover the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
After a long process of conversion now I need to study the faith that I received. While enrolling to the subject Ecclesiology, it helps me a lot to use the old formula: ‘see-judge-act.’ As I go on my theological study my dilemma is how the Catholic Church became relevant to the contemporary context. I came to the poor and marginalize family, I really known exactly how the poor think and act as he or she try to overcome their daily livings. Every day I always think why God allow this human misery and how the church response to this prevalent poverty. I have this struggle before that the church is has the divine characteristic so as a religious institution they only care for the heavenly things. Hence, this is the start for me to make analysis (See) on the characteristic and nature of my beloved Catholic Church. As I read the book of Fr. Lode, it reflect my inside sentiment why the church still reluctant to open the windows and doors to get rid of the gap between the church and the world. While reading his book entitled Doing Ecclesiology there is something happened to inside of me as a student of religion. Now I can assert my rights as part of the body of Christ. Before I thought that there are only group that the revelation of God reveals is given. With the help of the social sciences (sociologist, psychologist, feminist) and the modern critical theologians’ tools it helps me to analyze how the church failed to communicate and reach the people outside the church. Even within the church leadership and parishioners (intra and extra problems that facing the church) they have a hard time to reconcile if they will only humble and to have a epistemological –break or...