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athgarvan

SPIRITUAL HOMELESSNESS

As a result of exhorbitant demands by banks and landlords there is a serious problem of homelessness in Dublin and to a lesser extent throughout the rest of Ireland.

But there is another form of homelessness that is also worrying and that should be of particular concern to all in the Church -“spiritual homelessness.”

There are people who have been pushed to the margins in our parishes because of their differences and their questions. Their questions are regarded as difficult. But these questions do not indicate that they have abandoned their faith. Indeed, perhaps their persistence in questioning shows that they have clung to the faith despite all our moralising and our propensity to be judgemental. These people are on a journey through a spiritual wilderness.

They may question God, they may challenge God; they may question the Church, they may challenge the Church; but they are on a journey, and so often the response in the Church seems to be to abandon these spiritually homeless people.

A large percentage of under-40s have no religious affiliation. Many of them have dropped out of going to church and say either Christianity just makes no sense, or they have had a bad experience in the Church. They turn away as they see how the Church appears to treat women and gays and people of different faiths. They have become spiritually homeless in spite, perhaps, of still having a strong desire to connect to the traditions of the church. They are not always convinced by efforts by some to make the Church appear culturally trendy and fashionable. There are some, too, who are struggling with their Christian faith. They have chosen to remain within the Church but feel “lost”. They want to live out their faith but desire to stay connected with the world in their day-to-day lives.

Such people feel spiritually homeless.

Comments

a very interesting topic
thank you for being sensitive to it
what are your suggestions as how the church can reach out to these people?

here in the usa
if a gay couple is legally married by the state and have formed a loving relationship with perhaps a family of children they are still considered "sinful"
in a small town where there is only one parish they can be denied communion
if one of them works for a catholic school or hospital they may lose their job
how does the church reach out to them?

how does the church reach out to those who can not accept the literal belief of heaven and hell let alone the resurrection of the dead?
how are those with intellectual doubts of fundamentals given a home?

and then there is the lingering hurt and denial of the molestation of children - it is not just the actions of the molester but the refusal of the church to believe the accuser and do do anything about the molester - the denial of reality by the church
how does the church reach out to them?

that's just three very different ways a person can fin themselves "spiritually homeless"

what can the individual parish do?

although not all find themselves "homeless"
they search and find somewhere else to make a home
I think your term Spiritual Homelessness makes the problem really clear.

So many feel they are no longer welcome at the table, or feel there are many at the table with whom they would prefer not to eat!

The URC has become involved with Open table and I know our local CofE church wants to do this here. Do you know if there are Catholic churches involved, I am afraid I don't know.
How is the problem of spiritual homeless resolved?
It seems to me that it has two parts.

Some homeless do not see a need for a spiritual home.
Those who feel that their spirituality requires community must find a community that accepts them on terms they can accept.

Three communities (and i am sure there will be other) have welcomed me with open arms. But how welcoming will they be if they find our who i am and what i believe? And, this is the hardest part, i make myself feel unwelcome when i compare my beliefs with those of the community.

Some will take a solitary path and see no places to rest their heads.