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1 September 2016
Contact: Rene Reid
Work phone: 775-825-9196; Cell phone: 775-772-1210
Catholic Church Reform Int'l urges newly appointed Bishop Kevin Farrell to welcome and support lay-led initiatives as he launches the Dicastery for the Laity today.
While acknowledging disappointment that a lay person, a family man or woman, was not assigned to head the department for the laity, family and life, through an Open Letter, Catholic Church Reform Int'l congratulates the recently appointed head, Bishop Kevin Farrell, for having long pushed for a greater involvement of the laity in the life of the church. The Reform Group asks specifically for these actions to be part of the new department:
"Pope Francis continues to call for the laity to 'play a major role in the life and mission of the church,'" says CCRI director, Rene Reid. "He seems to recognize that the reform needed will not come without the people speaking up and assuming some leadership. With this new department being launched today, we fully expect lay-led initiatives to be welcomed and supported." A case in point: In 1968 South American bishops held a conference in Meddellin Columbia where the principles of the Second Vatican Council were emphasized. Now 50 years later in 2018, a group of lay-led Catholics calling themselves Council 50 are calling for a People's Synod to be held in Brazil to carry on the work still left undone by the Vatican Council. "We've had two recent synods attended primarily by bishops. The time is right to call a People's Synod and we hope to see this new dicastery support us in our efforts," says Ed Schreurs, a member of both CCRI and Council 50. The group is currently in process of collecting an opinion poll and calling local dialogue meetings for the purpose of producing statements that will be placed on the agenda of the 2018 Synod. Agreeing with the critical importance of calling local gatherings where the people can share their opinions with one another, Catholic Church Reform Int'l is currently encouraging these small local gatherings in communities in various cities around the world. All are welcomed to participate and let their voice be heard.
Dear Bishop Farrell:
Congratulations on your appointment as the head of the newly established department for the Laity, Family and Life. We are pleased to see the implementation of this office so soon after the publication of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.
Admittedly, at first some of us were disappointed that a lay person, a family man or woman, was not assigned to head the department for the laity, family and life. However, as we learn more about you, it appears that, if a bishop must be placed in this role, that you an excellent choice. We are most gratified to know that you share Pope Francis pastoral vision for the church and have long pushed for a greater involvement of the laity in the life of the church. In setting out a description of the role of this new department, the Vatican reports that the dicastery will “have responsibility for lay associations and movements in the church.” With this understanding, we urge you to seriously consider the following:
by Rene Reid Reproduced with permission from OMG journal
In an address to the Synod bishops in October 2015, Pope Francis contrasted the hierarchy to that of the powerful of this world and concluded that it must be understood as an “upside-down pyramid,” with the vertex at the bottom rather than the top. Francis stressed that those who exercise authority are called “ministers” because, according to the original meaning of the word, they are miniscule, “the smallest of all,” he said. Similarly, in the religious community of which I was a member for several years, the head person was called the “Sister Servant.”
On 17 August 2016 Jamie Manson wrote an article in the National Catholic Reporter on the subject "Stop shaming women for seeking equal power in the church" There were many comments. Here Clyde, one of the CCRI Strategy Team, responds:
Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.
ANNUAL SNAP CONFERENCE
June 24 to 26, 2016
In the original presentation I followed the basic format suggested for speakers at Alcoholics Anonymous and other Twelve Step meetings: What is was like before. What Happened. What it is like now. I have revised the original and expanded it to article length and have retained to this format.
The present era of awareness of sexual violation by Catholic clerics began in 1983 in two Catholic dioceses: the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana. This was not the start date of the problem of sexual violation but the beginning of widespread public awareness.
The reality of sexually dysfunctional clerics preying on minors and adults goes back through the centuries. In our lifetime it had been covered with a thick blanket of secrecy. It was unknown to the vast majority of lay persons and clerics as well. Many bishops knew about it but when they had to confront real cases they did so in secret with only a very small number of their closest advisors, all clerics, involved. Although they knew about sexual violation of minors in general, they were incapable of comprehending both its deeply pathological nature and its disastrous effects on victims.
Few knew about such abuse in the Church and even fewer believed it existed and this was due to the nature of the Catholic Church at the time. Back in the forties and fifties there was only one Catholic Church and it was the visible monarchical structure, a stratified society with a clerical aristocracy that was made up of celibate men and the vast ocean of lay commoners. The wall between the clerical caste and the “faithful” as the commoners are known, was steep and almost totally impenetrable.