Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Gospel Imperative Of Self-Sacrifice

Concluding a six-day retreat, Episcopal bishops call on the church to rise to the historic challenge of bad times:

The bishops' pastoral letter called the church to repentance for failure to address the sorry state of national and international economic and environmental crises.

The letter cited "unparalleled corporate greed and irresponsibility, predatory lending practices, and rampant consumerism (that) have amplified domestic and global economic justice" and raised a specter of fear in the United States and the world. It also took to task a tendency "to ignore the Gospel imperative of self-sacrifice and generosity, as we scramble for self-preservation in a culture of scarcity."

"We have too often been preoccupied as a Church with internal affairs and a narrow focus that has absorbed both our energy and interest and that of our Communion—to the exclusion of concern for the crisis of suffering both at home and abroad," the letter continued. Examples of that suffering included ongoing wars and human and natural disasters that destroy the land.

Bishops also chided the church for failures "to speak a compelling word of commitment to economic justice. We have often failed to speak truth to power, to name the greed and consumerism that has pervaded our culture, and we have too often allowed the culture to define us instead of being formed by Gospel values."

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