A MISSION OF HEALING

In his 1973 talk to the National Council of Catholic Laity Greenleaf continued with the theme of healing.  . . .ours is a society that is dominated by big, mostly non-governmental, institutions.  It is the first such society in the history of the world.  And it is sorely in need of a mission of healing that will penetrate the inner workings of these big institutions. . .as a new thrust from the church to the latent rebuilding forces that are now inside all of them – individuals and groups that are waiting to be led by a strong new ethical force that has deep religious roots.  

 . . .to the extent that you as a church organization are in need of healing – and only you can be the judge of that – your own healing will be measured by the progress of your healing mission to the whole institutional structure of our society.  You may not be able to heal yourself alone.  You may only be healed in proportion to your effectiveness as healers in the world at large.  

 It is within your power as lay persons in the church to mount a new healing mission to the major institutions. . . that shape our society and its values. . . But few churches, even when they are as large and powerful as yours, are any longer an important direct influence on the values of individuals – even of their own members.  The predominant value shaping influence on the great majority of us is the combined effect of other large institutions. . .none of which seem to have a sufficient concern for their value setting influence.  

 I believe that the potential power of the churches remains undiminished, but that it needs to be turned into new channels to be realized as a social force.  The opportunity that is open to be seized is a new mission of healing to the whole institutional structure of society.  An enormous value-shaping leverage can thus be placed in your hands.  What can be yours is a brand new role of trustees to society. [unpublished draft, pp. 14-15]

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