New opportunities seen and named
The following five articles, available on-line, point to positive developments we can hope to see emerging from the current state of crisis in the Catholic Church. Thanks to Christian Brothers Michael Colasuonno and Liam Deasy for picking them out.
Enough is enough: Bishop Patrick Power
www.catholica.com.au/gc1/pp/005_pp_270410.php (republished 27 April 2010)
The Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra sees the current crisis in the Church as calling for “a total systemic reform of Church structures” and for “credible leadership from the hierarchy”. He appeals for a willingness to listen to loyal criticism, to “unpalatable truths”, and to the voices of women and of all the faithful. He looks forward to a Church that is humbler, more human, more inclusive, less clerical, more open; a Church which discovers its whole tradition and finds unity in diversity, a Church that “truly reflects the person and values of Jesus”.
An Open Letter to all Catholic Bishops: Hans Küng
www.irishtimes.com – published 16 April 2010 in THE IRISH TIMES
Hope is not the first response to reading this theologian’s gloomy picture of shortcomings he identifies in the current papacy. He sees the Church as going through “the worst credibility crisis since the Reformation” and feels that Vatican II is being systematically undone by reactionary actions and appointments. But it is when he makes his six proposals, urging “tenacious pressure from below” and ending with a call for a Council, that his Open Letter to the Bishops provokes hope for change in the Church.
A Church Mary Can Love: Nicholas D. Kristof
www.nytimes.com > click Opinion and enter title in Search block - 17 April 2010
Tracing how the Church pulled back from its more-inclusive early days and “reverted to strong patriarchal attitudes”, accompanied by increasing discomfort with human sexuality, this article laments how out-of-touch the official Church has become, “as self-absorbed as other boys’ clubs”. The writer identifies “two Catholic Churches” today: one echoing the Pharisees with whose attitudes Jesus struggled so much, and the other a “grass-roots” Church that rolls up its sleeves and makes a difference to the needy, largely in obscurity. He wishes the former could take its lead from the latter, and he finds hope in his cameos of ordinary and authentic Christians.
Global women religious gathering kindles solidarity, hope: Thomas C. Fox
www.ncronline.org – see News or Women Religious (May 2010)
This article, in the USA’s NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, focuses on the energizing hope that emerged in a conference of 800 leaders of women’s congregations in the Catholic Church earlier this month. Exploring their “inner call to be mystics and prophets”, they were overwhelmed by their vibrant experience of sharing and solidarity. Participants, coming from all around the globe, described it in terms of light shining in darkness and as “a gift of the Spirit”. The writer points to how the power of the process was tellingly reflected in the trend of the Liturgy over the five days they were together.
Priests for Tomorrow: Rosebank Catholic Parish
www.rosebankcatholicchurch.org.za > Community & Serving > Priests for Tomorrow
This is a four page discussion document that emerged from a lay-initiated process in a parish. Facing the growing shortage of priests and its consequences for Eucharist and Sacramental life tomorrow, and quoting Canon Law in support of their concerns, the Laity of this parish put forward a set of pastoral proposals that ‘break out of the box’. These include optional celibacy for diocesan priests and the ordination of community leaders. An appendix outlines the process followed in evolving the document.