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23 January 2018
People young and not so young have been gathering all day It is 7:30 pm in Brazil and they are starting the Opening Celebration of the 14th Inter-ecclesial Encounter of Base Cristian Comunities in the city of Londrina, state of Paraná, Brazil.
Delegates are coming from all over the country
Pictures by Daniel Seidel, an official delegate from the Faith and Politics Movement (nationwide).
The Forum of Asian Women Theologians known as Ecclesia of Women in Asia is just concluding their meeting in Saigoan. Two books were released at this meeting. One is an E-book available on Amazon. The title of the book is "Liberating Power - Asian Feminist theological Perspectives". It contains the papers presented at our 6th EWA conference.
The second book edited by me and another sister from India, Metti Amirtham SC was also released. This book is an anthology of the papers presented at our 7th EWA conference.
Both books contain articles written by me. This book will also be available on Amazon. The title is "The 21st century Woman Still Claiming Her Space."
Forum 2018, Dignity, Difference and Dialogue : Theology in Context (http://cfotae.ca/about/) is fast approaching and I hope you are planning to register online (http://cfotae.ca/forum-registration/) ‘Dignity, Difference and Dialogue: Theology in Context’ will address issues of diversity and inclusion as a reflection of Catholicity within society as a whole. How we struggle with issues such as race, gender, LGBT concerns, religious difference and poverty in our schools, parishes and communities is of interest to all as we each must navigate tensions between what the Church hierarchy wants us to hear, what Christ teaches, and what society promotes. To examine questions of equity and inclusion our presenters, Tina and Cathy will draw on perspectives on Catholic Social Teaching, theologies of hospitality, teachings on conscience, biblical teaching, and maybe some postcolonial theology and some of the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.
I realize Tina nor Cathy may be as well-known in North America as Joan(Chittister) or Diarmuid (O’Murchu). Tina is certainly as much in demand in Britain and Europe as either of them and Cathy, a regular participant at Forum, is well on her way. Both are members of Catholic Women Speak, an international organization that works towards empowering Catholic women and each has an article in the group’s first book Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table (Paulist Press, 2015).I know their working together at Forum will excite and challenge you.
I remember my high school education in Liverpool (1953-1960) with the Jesuits at St. Francis Xavier’s College. Although it would never be found in the curriculum the following statement permeated everything I was taught and everything I learned. “Being Catholic does not mean putting your brain in park.” This thought has been front and centre in High School Forum and the Canadian Forum on Theology and Education since it all began in 1979.
FORUM speakers are moving Catholic faith into the future. They are voices to be heard and prophets in their own time! They respect but challenge the status quo and push faith to new heights and depths!
Forum just like life has evolved over the years. What was a initially a foundational theological opportunity for secondary teachers has developed into a cutting edge theological discourse.
As a practising Catholic, I appreciate a venue in which various perspectives and interpretations of our faith – and of societal issues – can be dissected and discussed in a non-judgmental and open-minded manner. Most of the other Church-run institutions I have contact with do not promote this same type of openness. Important questions are raised, perceptive and well-supported responses are offered, and everyone – no matter what conclusions are reached on a personal level – comes away from Forum with a deeper and more authentic connection to the Spirit.
Tina Beattie is Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing and of Catherine of Siena College, both based at the University of Roehampton. Much of her research focuses on the relationship between the Catholic tradition and contemporary culture, particularly in areas to do with gender, sexuality and reproductive ethics; Catholic social teaching and women’s rights, and theology and the visual arts.
Catherine Cavanagh, DMin, is an Ontario high school teacher and chaplaincy leader.Catherine’s articles and stories on spirituality, social justice, Catholic education, gender issues and current affairs have appeared in Weavings: The Journal of the Spiritual Life, The Catholic Register, The Catholic New Times, DIsciplesWorld, Devozine, Messenger of the Sacred Heart, Religious Studies Review, and Upper Room Disciplines.
$225 Registration includes: parking, brunch, refreshment break, dinner, wine and cheese on April 27th and parking, breakfast, refreshment break, and lunch on April 28th Forum rate for each hotel is $127.60 per room per night taxes included. Rooms contain 2 Queen beds or 1 King Bed
* Archbishop Coleridge, The Courier-Mail, February 8, 2017.
by David Timbs
During the final days of the February 2017 Catholic Wrap Up at the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Catholic bishops made a number of undertakings both to the Commission and to their own people. These included commitments to address failures in structure, policy and procedure in order to bring these into compliance with civil requirements and to rebuild institutional trust as an honest corporate citizen. They called upon the Royal Commission to assist them with advice to address the pressing issues of their flawed episcopal governance and culture. No doubt that will be coming very soon in the Commission’s Final Report.
The bishops also made it clear that they they accepted responsibility for breaking faith with the people entrusted to them, that the proportions of their failures of leadership were catastrophic. They have signalled that they will strive to be pastors who will listen closely to the concerns of their people, accept the advice and council that the Catholic community will offer them and that they will engage with the faithful in the work of reform and renewal. A specific undertaking on the part of the bishops was to welcome full, active participation by all Australian Catholics in the planning, preparation for and participation in the 2020 National Plenary Council. When papal approval for this general synod is given, Australian Catholics will be looking closely for clear signs that the bishops deliver on their promises.
In view of giving visibility and voice to the laity in the Catholic Church, CCRI has declared today as the beginning of a worldwide celebration of the Year of the Laity. This will go from the Feast of Christ the King, November 26, 2017, to this same feast, November 25, 2018. During this year, we envision the People of God taking on a decisive and influential voice in the governance of their Church. This will never come by a decree of the hierarchy but only by the People assuming this responsibility. Once accustomed to this new role, it is our hope that lay people, by virtue of their baptism, will recognize their responsibility to heed the signs of the times and continue to lead the Church in the direction intended by Jesus Christ.
We draw inspiration from the Brazilian Bishops who have called for the Year of the Laity in their country with this theme: "Christian Lay Men and Lay Women, Agents of the 'Church Going Out to the Streets' in Service of the Kingdom." We support the importance of increasing awareness of the laity's mission and encourage involvement of lay people to speak out against injustices in their society. But our objective includes an equally important dimension, namely, to change the injustices within the Church.
Pope Francis has repeatedly noted the ill effects of clericalism in "infantilizing" the laity. So, our support for a Year of the Laity is a risk taken in hopes that CCRI can contribute to empowering and energizing the laity as envisioned by Vatican II. In a letter to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who heads the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, we invited him to join with us in taking this concept worldwide. Significant change in the governance of the Church cannot happen by one group alone or one country alone. It can only occur when enough people from the grassroots around the world declare the time has come for the People of God to take responsibility for their Church and exercise their baptismal vocation as "Priest, Prophet and Leader (King)."
To provide a universal place in cyberspace for the people to come together to share plans, opinions, and convictions, CCRI would like to offer this website www.ThePeopleSpeakOut.org as a clearinghouse for ideas from the grassroots about the status of lay participation in decision making in the apostolate of the Gospel. Go there now to share your activities, leadership taken, and comments.
During this year, we are also giving support to Pope Francis amidst his facing accusations of heresy: www.WeSupportPopeFrancis.net. Please visit here and offer your support and comments.
What a lay-involved church might look like:
As Pope Francis encouraged us, let's "go bother our pastors," and make our wants known and our voices heard!
During this 2018 year, unlike any time before, a series of four lay-initiated gatherings are taking place. As part of our commitment, CCRI will offer promotion and support of these synods/forums with the hope that others will be inspired to call for something similar in their region of the world.
We see our task is to gather together what's happening globally with all the reform organizations and publicize your activities and projects. All that you are doing is intrinsically part of the Year of the Laity. As we hear from you about your various events, we will promote them throughout the world. We envision the Year of the Laity as just a beginning leading into a decade or more of the laity - of the People of God leading the way toward the future of the Church.
It is time for the People of God to take their rightful place in the Church - that of active leadership, involvement in the decision-making, and allowing the voice of the Spirit speaking through the people to be heard.
Grateful to all for your participation,