Reform in the Church seldom comes from a committee of clergy, or from the clergy at all. It usually comes from the laity and from religious communities. In a way, reform in the Church “comes out of nowhere.” During the often-corrupt periods of the Church (e.g., the Middle Ages)—when many of the clergy were more like aristocrats and landowners than true pastors, when wealthy clergy often collected parishes and posts like stocks and bonds and hired poorly trained people to do their work—reform came out of nowhere. It came in the person of St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, the mendicant orders, and many others. In later periods, it came in the person of great saints like St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
These reformers came as if out of nowhere. They defied the usual expectations of what leadership in the church should be like. They broke the rules, not the moral law or rules, but the “business as usual” rules. God sent them to the Church at critical moments. Ecclesia semper reformanda (the Church is always in need of reform).
All of this occurred to me as I watched this commercial: