A journal of academic theology

September 2016 Editorial

As we go to press, the church enters the final quarter of the Year of Mercy, an opportune time to consider what it would mean for the church itself to receive the transformative power of God’s mercy. For, as the Second Vatican Council confessed, the church is called to penance and renewal (Lumen Gentium 8). It is tantalizing to imagine what it might mean for the church not only to offer mercy, but to receive it within every sector of the church’s life. This seems especially true in a time when, for various reasons, the church is struggling internally with the role of women. Pope Francis has affirmed the need for a commission to study women and the diaconate, and earlier he called for a theology of women. And recently he opined that the church should apologize not only to “mistreated women” but also to gay people, among others. But let us pause for a moment, and consider how grappling with these matters might be an occasion for God’s bold and powerful mercy, understood as a divine summons to ecclesial conversion.

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