Posts Tagged faithful Catholics
Catholic faithful of the dioceses of Rochester, New York, have posted an open letter to Pope Francis on their website, “God’s Word, Many Voices,” urging the pontiff to expand lay preaching. The letter advocates for well informed and inspired lay preaching at Mass, which the authors believe can be encouraged in a manner consistent with canon law. You may click here to read the letter and add your signature, and you may read the letter in full below:
November 28, 2016
His Holiness, Pope Francis
00120 Vatican City
We, the undersigned, understand and believe that you have the authority to offer your interpretations of the 1983 Code of Canon Law to the universal Church. Specifically, we are requesting that you urge the bishops to take a pastoral and expansive view on lay preaching during the Eucharist.
We make this request for the following reasons.
(1) People come to church hungering for a word of inspiration that will get them through the week.
(2) Lay preaching is rooted in Scripture and Tradition. Jesus, in his encounters with people, often empowered them to proclaim the Good News. Take the Samaritan Woman at the Well and Mary of Magdala, for example. Leaders of house churches in the first century, men and women alike, preached the Good News during their Eucharistic gatherings. Hildegard of Bingen – outstanding twelfth century abbess, poet, prophet, and more – was invited on preaching tours by Rhineland bishops. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy found the presence of Christ in the worshiping community, as well as in Scripture, priest, and Eucharist; indeed, “all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations” to which all the baptized “have a right and obligation” (paragraph 14). Furthermore, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church assures us that “the holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office” (paragraph 12).
(3) Preaching is a sacred responsibility, one to which lay people are called and for which they are gifted. Indeed, lay preaching has mushroomed over the last 40 years, and a number of U.S. dioceses have schools to prepare people for this ministry.
(4) The 1983 Code of Canon Law confirms that “lay people, like all Christ’s faithful, are deputed to the apostolate by baptism and confirmation” so that God’s salvation might be made known (#225.1). “They can also be called upon to cooperate with Bishops and priests in the exercise of the ministry of the word” (#759). Importantly, lay preaching is possible in circumstances of “necessity” or where “advantageous” (#766), as long as the homily – a unique form of preaching – remains with the ordained (#767.1).
So it is that we advocate for informed lay preaching in today’s Church. We believe
(1) that the experience of a gifted and well prepared lay person can often more readily connect with the folks sitting in the pews,
(2) that many of our priests are stretched because of fewer numbers, and they no longer have adequate time to prepare a thoughtful homily,
(3) and that a priest from another country can be difficult to understand.
But this remains: everyone needs to hear a word of inspiration.
So, then, how might we envision a pastoral and expansive approach to canon law? The local bishop could commission a gifted and well prepared lay person to preach. In such a case, the ordained person could deliver a brief homily before calling upon the lay person to thoughtfully fill out the thrust of the homily. Thus, there would be a continued reflection, but not at exactly the same time as the homily. The ultimate purpose of the homily would be respected and enhanced, all the while calling upon the Spirit-filled gifts of the lay person.
With prayers for your continued good health and courageous leadership,
Next week, Aug. 12-15, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents more than 50,000 U.S. women religious, will meet for their 2014 National Assembly. LCWR has been under Vatican mandate to change for two years. Here is Sister Joan Chittister and Sister Mary Lou Kownacki’s take on the nuns’ situation.
Next week, for instance, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will face decisions that will move the question of the agency of women in a man’s church either forward or back. Strange as it may seem in the 21st century, the issue is whether or not women are capable of hearing diverse speakers and still remain faithful Catholics. The issue is whether or not women religious may discuss various points of view on major issues and still remain faithful Catholics. The issue is whether or not women religious can manage their own organizations and still be faithful Catholics. The Vatican’s answer to those questions is no. For the last 45 years, however, LCWR’s answer to those same questions has been a clear and persistent yes.”
By Joan Chittister, Mary Lou Kownacki, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Support the sisters by offering prayers for an appropriate resolution to this situation. You can click here to access the Nun Justice Project’s prayer resources. You will also find there an open letter to Pope Francis, asking him to intervene and “to remove the unjust mandates imposed on LCWR over two years ago.” You can download the letter and mail it to the Pope.
Voice of the Faithful’s support for our sisters is unflagging.
This story reports on Voice of the Faithful’s efforts toward more meaningful lay input into the selection of local Catholic bishops. Please note that VOTF takes exception to the diocese’s spokesperson’s implication in the story that we would edit individual Catholic’s remarks to the Apostolic Nuncio. As our web portal, votf.org/bishop, says, “Your input will be transmitted directly to the Apostolic Nuncio, the Vatican’s representative in the U.S., who advises the Congregation for Bishops on bishop selection.” As faithful Catholics, we would expect to be taken at our word.
A national organization advocating change within the Roman Catholic church wants local parishioners to use the group’s website to tell church fathers who should be the diocese’s next bishop. ‘Church law encourages all Catholics to express their views on Church matters that concern them, and this includes who their new bishop may be,’ Nick Ingala, a spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, said Tuesday (July 29).”
By Bill Dolan, The Times, on nwi.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.