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The well intentioned TSA

I do not fly often and still have not accepted the anal exam TSA gives me as I pass through security well. I find it completely annoying good people are inconvenienced due to a hand full of radicals. Enter the Catholic Church. I think very well intentioned ministers and church staff confuse Church with the airport TSA. Seriously. Think about it, we all hear stories about someone asked or mandated to comply with various policy or regulation before receiving a variety of sacraments or entry into programs. I understand why we have rules, regulations and policies. But what good ministers and even priests may confuse is that policy, rules, and regs do not give us the right to check our brains at the door. Going back to the TSA, there is no wiggle room or latitude for common sense. Workers merely follow policy created by someone else and enforce the policies, period! That same type of thinking can infect a parish and create a toxic environment that is not life giving.



There is a good number of priests, sisters and dedicated lay ministers that use very good judgment where policy is concerned. These people are lifelong learners that think wisely about policies knowing that ultimately the rules need always point us to Jesus rather than hoops to get parishioners to do things. However, with a good number of Catholics whose formation stopped at confirmation, power and bad theology can lead them into using various teachings and rules as weapons versus taking the time love someone into church. Add in people coming for services that may or may not have any formation at all and there is a real possibility for all sorts of bad things to happen.

The point is that the rules and regs are present for guidance and order. A parish with much size must have enough policies to help staff and the pastor serve people. But in this same environment, wisdom must be sought so these same rules and regulations point people to Jesus, the great reason to minister in the first place. Don’t check your brain at the door.

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Diocese of Dodge City

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