American Catholics, diverse and holy

Since I was an undergraduate I've believed that the church would fare better if the hierarchy had keener listening skills. As a psychotherapist, one of my most valuable tools has been the ability to attend to persons in pain. Counselors know healing and growth may be promoted when someone attends to another, passes no judgment, validates the person's input, and manifests genuine compassion for the other's needs and concerns.

I am not saying that church leaders need to be like therapists, but then maybe that is a workable paradigm. If we more frequently experienced being heard by the powers that be, then many more of us might come to believe we are the people of God. Most active Catholics, in spite of little affirmation from church leaders, know that they are indeed God's people.

In his book Sense of the Faithful, Jerome Baggett reveals the variety of ways in which the people of God both grasp and grapple with their Catholicism.