Religion is one of the forms that spirituality takes in our lives. It should never be a source of conflicts and hatred. It is the source of understanding of the transcendance of the world.

I was born and raised in the Roman Catholic Church. We were kneeling in front of our radio when the Pope was giving its blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the City and the world). I continue to consider that the message of the Gospels is one of the most powerful ones. It is not the only one. I have very soon become uneasy in the annexation of sexuality by a Church whose leader was “infallible”. Even though the Catholic Church remains a powerful source of inspiration, I refuse the idea that there is only one true religion. If God exists, he is there for everyone, and not only for religious organizations who often enough did not act as they preach. The Middle East war between Shiites and Sunnis is the demonstration of what a religion becomes when it loses its spiritual dimension and becomes criminally conflicted.

 

This being said, I did believe at 17  that I would become priest and joined the Dominican Order as a monk for two years after high school (humanities, in our language). Spirituality and transcendence are part of humanity. Religions have been the source of inspiration for those who continue to be in touch with that dimension of their soul.

 

I continue to worship, meditate and  pray, but I also do not recognize myself in parts of the religious landscape. Evangelist churches in the United States use literal reading of the Bible to justify their arch-conservative ideology. The Roman Catholic Church does not allow women to be priests and priests to marry. Muslims do the same in their terrorist fatwas.

 

I recently joined the Investment Committee of the Missionary Sisters of our Lady of Africa in Rome.

The dark side of religious wars is among us everywhere. I have been inspired by many religious leaders, and sometimes found more religion in some lay people than in mullahs, rabbis or priests. They are the biggest threat for world peace today.

 

Churches have a huge responsibility in the decline of spiritual values. Is it too late or is a spiritual upheaval possible? The next decades will tell us. Pope Francis seems to be decided to go back to the roots of Catholic religion. It puts him in an open conflict with the Church administration, the Curia Romana. Will he manage to correct the greatest injustice of the Church by authorizing women to be priests? Priests to get married?

 

Yet, the world needs, more than ever, the inspiration of true spiritual and religious leaders who care about people and this “supplement of soul” that most of us aspire to.