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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.
To all interested in seeing the Church evolve into the values of Vatican II:
There are many things we can do together to continue to call for the reform of our Church
You may already be holding meetings in your area. Now we invite you to share the outcomes of these meetings on www.ThePeopleSpeakOut.org.
If you're interested in gathering a few people together and would appreciate some help in getting this started, click here. Following on the two Synods attended almost entirely by bishops, there is discussion among reform groups about holding a People's Synod sometime in the future. Your local gatherings could well be a lead up to this and become part of a growing global movement: Act Local - Think Global.
Virginia Saldanha (India) said this about local gatherings: "If we don't act, positive changes will not happen. Local and smaller communities have a greater sense of participation. It is an opportune moment in history. Francis wants a thorough going synodality that listens to the grass roots. Our focus on local gatherings is apt, because local communities model a style of participation that needs to be adapted to the larger communities that build on the local church."