Pope Francis’ call for mercy and accompaniment, the true pastoral care of families, new forms of evangelization calling people back to the Church—many elements that need cohesiveness to form a whole, rather than various mini-pastoral movements that translate into dormant diocesan “offices of pastoral care.” Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter, Amoris Laetitia, says that the parish is the place where affective movement has to take place, in his words, “the parish is a family of families, where small communities, ecclesial movements, and associations live in harmony.” Pope Francis goes on to say that “this shows a need for a more adequate formation of priests, deacons, men and women religious, catechists and other pastoral workers” (AL, §202). As academics, intellectuals, and writers, some of us need to turn our perspectives toward the people themselves, to see them as they are, in themselves, and as a whole. We must lead the leaders into an authentic and true pastoral movement, which by its very dynamic, will permeate and renew human culture. While the salvos of Left and Right continue, and must continue, a new dialogue and movement must be started. This essay is not the first in that new dialogue, but it is an attempt, as I have said, to prompt our academics to write that first essay that will, indeed, begin the new dialogue. It is the middle that is the object of this movement, not the Left. The defeat of the Left will be to give them an empty court to serve into. The people will not be there.
* The full essay, The OverLooked Middle, can be found on Homiletics & Pastoral Review, Oct 2016 http://www.hprweb.com/2016/09/the-overlooked-middle/
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