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By Mary Colgan McNamara

I awoke yesterday to the news of the Vatican’s reprimand of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious). All day that grief swirled in my stomach. Just now as I was straightening things in the kitchen, these words came pouring in from nowhere. I raced to my computer and got down as many as I could.

On reading the Vatican reprimand of LCWR

They may hold up half the sky, half the Church. But it was never the half I belonged to in the first place. People may want to ‘recover’ from that half. I am forever unwilling to surrender mine.

My half of the Catholic Church is the world of mystery, miracle and meaning, of silence and the unknowable. Of prayer at a mother’s knee or beside a birth or death bed. Of occasional piercings of the cloud of unknowing and rendings of the veil. Unmatched ritual, wisdom literature, music and art offer invitations to this half.


My half of the Catholic Church embraces the much wider human urgency so alive in the historical Jesus, in Buddha, in Ghandi, in Simone Weil, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa. In millions of the forever nameless. The urgency toward compassion and justice for each other, toward awe and respect for animals and the environment, toward a relational, inclusive world. A world as far removed from fear as each heart can find the courage to be.

What is the most common injunction of many scriptures? Fear not. Fear not the biology different from yours. Fear not the skin color different from yours, the lifestyle different from yours. Pass through that fear into largesse of heart. Expand. Embrace until your star dust particles are ready to be given back to the cosmos from which they came. Then, just as you released fear, release again. Release the starlight within you.



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