Posts Tagged laity
Francis’ synod reforms show voices of Catholic laity can no longer be ignored / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, Future of the Church, laity, Pope Francis, Synod on Synodality, Vatican II, Voice of the Faithful on May 10, 2023
In a 2016 letter to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, he (Pope Francis) urged: ‘Let us trust in our People, in their memory and in their ‘sense of smell,’ let us trust that the Holy Spirit acts in and with our People and that this Spirit is not merely the ‘property’ of the ecclesial hierarchy.’ Simply stated, lay Christians have a ‘nose’ for the truth of the Gospel.By Catherine E. Clifford, National Catholic Reporter
“Pope Francis’ decision in late April to include lay persons as full participants with voting rights in the upcoming Synod of Bishops is a significant step towards making the synod a body that more adequately represents and embodies an act of discernment by the whole entire people of God.
“In exhorting the pastors of the local churches to embark upon a synodal process with the whole community of the baptized and listen to the voices of the marginalized, the pope has been seeking to reawaken the muscle memory of the ecclesial body.
“The successors of the apostles are relearning the importance of consulting the whole church, in the image of the first Apostles (Acts 6:5; 9:22). A more synodal church — the goal of the present synodal process — better reflects the nature of the Christian community as followers of the Way (Acts 9:2; John 14:6), a community of disciples on a shared journey of faith.
“On many occasions Francis has astutely diagnosed the debilitating consequences of failing to receive fully Vatican II’s recognition of the equal dignity and co-responsibility of the baptized through the creation of spaces for their meaningful participation in the discernment of the church’s missional needs and priorities.”
By Catherine E. Clifford, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Voice of the Faithful’s mission is “to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church” — https://www.votf.org
Pope’s changes to Synod voting underscore Voice of the Faithful’s mission
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, church reform, Future of the Church, Pope Francis, Synod of Bishops, Synod on Synodality, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful on April 27, 2023
Pope Francis changed the Roman Catholic Church yesterday (Apr. 26) by giving lay people votes in the Catholic Church Synod of Bishops, which now will be called simply the Synod.
“Our excitement at Pope Francis’ inclusion of the laity in such an important way today cannot be overstated,” says Mary Pat Fox, Voice of the Faithful president. “Since shortly after Pope Francis’ election, when it began to become evident that his leadership approach would differ from his predecessors, we have watched him gradually elevate attention on the role of the laity in the Church. We pray that the pastoral orientation, openness, and inclusivity he promotes will continue beyond his pontificate. This is the same mission VOTF has promoted since our beginning.”
For more than 20 years, Voice of the Faithful has addressed the laity’s involvement in Church structure. VOTF’s very mission is “to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.” By including lay people, and calling for half of these delegates to by women, Pope Francis is welcoming such participation.
VOTF also has called for reforms in Church structure. Over the years, these efforts have included educating the laity and equipping them with the means to address responsibly issues of vital importance within the Church. Examples include annual nationwide reviews of diocesan financial transparency and accountability, lay involvement in diocesan finance councils, and diocesan compliance with child protection and safe environment guidelines.
In addition, VOTF has worked to promote lay involvement in the selection of bishops; the creation and support of parish and diocesan pastoral councils, finance councils, and safety committees; the eradication of clericalism, perhaps the greatest threat undermining lay input in the Church; and the establishment of an ordained women’s diaconate in the church. VOTF performs this work with the conviction that the whole Church must respect the dignity and intelligence of all its members and “acknowledge the right and responsibility of the laity, flowing from their baptism, to use their God-given gifts for the good of the Church.”
Voice of the Faithful’s® mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. VOTF’s goals are to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to support priests of integrity, and to shape structural change within the Catholic Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
Pope Francis expands participation in synod to lay members, granting right to vote / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in church reform, Future of the Church, Pope Francis, Synod of Bishops, Synod on Synodality, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful, Women in Catholic Church on April 26, 2023
For years, lay Catholic have lobbied for such reform.By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter
“Pope Francis on April 26 dramatically expanded participation in the Vatican’s upcoming Synod of Bishops to include lay men and women, for the first time granting them a right to be appointed as full voting members of the Catholic Church’s primary consultative body.
“In addition to the standard participation of bishops selected by the pope and episcopal conferences from around the world, the new changes allow for the participation of 70 non-bishop members at the upcoming October gathering — 10 from each of the seven global regional bishops’ conferences — with the request that young people be included and that 50% of those named be women.
“The changes were announced April 26 by the Vatican’s synod office, and were discussed at a press briefing at the Vatican with Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod, and Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, relator general of the 2023 and 2024 Synod of Bishops.”
By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Partners in mission: Dicastery promotes ‘co-responsibility’ of clergy, laity / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in church reform, Clergy, Clericalism, laity, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful on February 21, 2023
‘The laypeople are not there at our service,’ (Quebec Cardinal Gerald) Lacroix said. ‘We are together at the service of the mission of the church.’By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
For too many Catholics, ordained or lay, the responsibilities of the laity are those “delegated” by the priest or bishop.
“As the continental assemblies for the Synod of Bishops make clear that hot-button issues — like sexuality, climate change and the role of women in the church — are not going away, the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life is pointing at a more fundamental issue at stake in learning to be a “synodal church”: What responsibility comes from baptism and unites all Catholics?
“And, related to the synod’s goal of promoting a church where people listen to one another and work together to share the Gospel and care for the poor, the dicastery is asking: How do clergy and laity walk and work side by side?
“The dicastery is exploring those questions Feb. 16-18 at a conference titled, ‘Pastors and lay faithful called to walk together.’ The meeting, in the Vatican Synod Hall, has an enrollment of 210 participants from 74 countries: 107 laypeople, 36 priests and 67 bishops.”
By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Is Pope Francis prepping for doomsday in the church? I hope so. / America: The Jesuit Review
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in church reform, Future of the Church, Pope Francis, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful on April 14, 2022
If that interpretation proves accurate to the Vatican’s intent, it would mean not only that most of the departments in the dusty but incredibly well-decorated halls of Rome can be run by women and men who aren’t priests, but that our local parishes and dioceses could.By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review
“If you’re not a Vaticanista, the announcement of the proposed reform of the Roman Curia on March 17 might have seemed like some pretty standard Catholic gobbledygook. What is the Roman Curia? And why should I care about dicasteries? Does this mean I get to go back to eating meat on Fridays? If not, why are we talking about it?
“But in the midst of the release of the reform document (which was actually a big deal for many reasons), Vatican experts recognized something that actually could change things for you and me in a potentially massive way. As one theological expert who worked on the constitution put it, the Vatican seems to be saying that the “power of governance in the church does not come from the sacrament of [Holy] Orders” but from one’s mission in the church. That is, being in positions of leadership in the church should not require a collar, ordination or being a man.
“If that interpretation proves accurate to the Vatican’s intent, it would mean not only that most of the departments in the dusty but incredibly well-decorated halls of Rome can be run by women and men who aren’t priests, but that our local parishes and dioceses could. Your sister could potentially be put in charge of the parish where I say Mass; my aunt Kathleen or Uncle Stan could even end up running the diocese someday! (And they would be awesome.)
“If this sounds hard to believe, let’s remember that almost all of our Catholic schools are run by incredibly talented women and men who are not priests, and have been so in most cases for decades. The same is true of our Catholic social service agencies, homeless shelters and pretty much every other Catholic institution. Even some parishes are already run by “lay administrators” who effectively serve as pastors.”
By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …
Pope releases Vatican reform, gives weight to fighting abuse
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in church reform, Pope Francis, Voice of the Faithful on March 22, 2022
In one of the major changes, it (the new reform, Praedicate Evanglium) brings the pope’s advisory commission on preventing sexual abuse into the Vatican’s powerful doctrine office which oversees the canonical investigations into abuse cases. Previously, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors existed as an ad hoc commission that reported to the pope but had no real institutional weight or power.Associated Press
“Pope Francis released his long-awaited reform program of the Holy See bureaucracy on Saturday (Mar. 19) that envisages greater decision-making roles for the laity and gives new institutional weight to efforts to fight clerical sex abuse.
“The 54-page text, titled “Praedicate Evanglium,” or “Proclaiming the Gospel,” replaces the founding constitution “Pastor Bonus” that was penned by St. John Paul II in 1988.
“Francis was elected pope in 2013 in large part on his promise to reform the bulky and inefficient Vatican bureaucracy, which acts as the organ of central governance for the 1.3-billion strong Catholic Church. He named a Cabinet of cardinal advisers who have met periodically since his election to help him draft the changes.
“Much of the reform work has been rolled out piecemeal over the years, with offices consolidated and financial reforms issued. But the publication of the new document, for now only in Italian, finalizes the process and puts it into effect in June.”
By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …
Francis is set to open a worldwide synod process. U.S. dioceses don’t seem prepared. / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, church reform, Future of the Church, laity, Pope Francis, Synod of Bishops, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful on September 29, 2021
Although Francis has previously asked for local consultation to occur before other synods during his pontificate, no earlier process has been so wide-ranging.National Catholic Reporter
“With about three weeks to go before Catholic prelates around the world are due to open a first-of-its-kind grassroots consultation period as part of an expanded vision for the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops, church officials across the U.S. are still figuring out exactly what that process will look like.
“A range of dioceses contacted by NCR in recent weeks said they were still working out the details for the consultation period and would be in a better position to comment on the synod in coming weeks, after Pope Francis formally opens the two-year synod process with a ceremony in Rome on Oct. 9.
“Officials who agreed to interviews described plans that relied on parish listening sessions, online surveys, Zoom meetings and other avenues to get feedback from laity.
“‘It’s a great opportunity for me to learn and for bishops all over the world to develop better habits of consultation with our people,’ Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington, Vermont, told NCR …
“Francis announced in May that he would be expanding the scope of the next synod, originally set for 2022. He postponed the Vatican meeting of bishops, now set for October 2023, to allow first for periods of consultation in every local diocese and at the continental level.
“Although Francis has previously asked for local consultation to occur before other synods during his pontificate, no earlier process has been so wide-ranging.”
By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Synod theologian says laity must make decisions, not just implement them / Cruxnow.com
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in church reform, Future of the Church, laity, VOTF Focus News Roundup on July 19, 2021
Lay people aren’t just called to implement decisions in the Church made by others, but to make those decisions themselves.Cruxnow.com
“Looking ahead to a looming Synod of Bishops on the concept of ‘synodality,’ a lay Venezuelan theologian says the time has come for bishops to grasp one key point: Lay people aren’t just called to implement decisions in the Church made by others, but to make those decisions themselves.
“Layman Rafael Luciani, who divides his year between Venezuela and Boston, where he works at Boston College, is one of three Latin American theologians who were chosen as consultants for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the matter of Synodality, to which he hopes to contribute “from a non-clerical vision.”
“‘If there is no co-governance, there is no understanding of the Church that involves all the baptized,’ Luciani told Crux. ‘Co-governance does not mean that one person makes the final decision and brings it to the table, where others have to understand why I made a decision. It means that a discernment has to be done together, and decisions have to be made together, not explained from the top down.'”
By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Read more …
Pope institutes new ‘secular ministry’ of Catechist open to laymen and laywomen / Cruxnow.com
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Future of the Church, laity, Pope Francis, Voice of the Faithful on May 12, 2021
“‘Catechists,’ he (Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization) said, ‘must know that they speak in the name of the Church and transmit the faith of the Church, but always doing so in a ‘secular’ manner, ‘without falling into forms of clericalism that blur the true identity of the ministry, which must express itself not primarily in the liturgical sphere, but in the specific sphere of the transmission of the faith through proclamation and systematic instruction.'”Cruxnow.com
“Pope Francis on Tuesday (May 11) instituted the ‘secular’ ministry of the catechist, meant for lay men and women who feel called to help in the Catholic Church’s mission of spreading the Gospel. With the formal recognition of the many ‘competent catechists,’ who already exercise an ‘irreplaceable mission in the transmission and deepening of the faith,’ Francis offers yet another ministry to the laity after extending the role of acolytes and readers to women in the beginning of January.
“The institution of the ministry of the catechist came in the form of a motu proprio, meaning a document issued by the pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him. Titled Antiquum ministerium, Instituting the ministry of catechist, it was presented on Tuesday by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, and Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-Van Elst, who heads up the council’s catechetical office.
“‘There is no doubt that the institution of this ministry, together with those already existing of Acolyte and Lector, will make it possible to have a laity that is better prepared in the transmission of the faith,’ Fisichella said.
“Catechists, he said, must know that they speak in the name of the Church and transmit the faith of the Church, but always doing so in a ‘secular’ manner, ‘without falling into forms of clericalism that blur the true identity of the ministry, which must express itself not primarily in the liturgical sphere, but in the specific sphere of the transmission of the faith through proclamation and systematic instruction.'”
By Inés San Martín, Cruxnow.com — Read more …
The people should choose their bishops again / Commonweal
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, Clericalism, Future of the Church, Voice of the Faithful on December 11, 2020
“His (former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s) appointment (to auxiliary bishop of New York) required no consultation with the body of clergy of New York, and no consultation with the body of the laity, beyond those few apostolic letters. It mostly required Cardinal Cooke’s patronage.”Commonweal
“There are a number of conclusions one could draw from reading the Vatican report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. For example: that the clerical sex-abuse crisis in the Church is worse than we thought and extends to vulnerable adults. Also, that position and influence in our Church are easily bought, and that bishops lie, even to the pope, to protect other bishops. But the conclusion that encompasses all of the above is that the way we choose our bishops is deeply flawed, producing bishops who are, in turn, deeply flawed. How did things get this way, and what can be done about it?
“First, let’s consider a bit of history. Once the office of bishop was clearly established in the early Church as the unitary head of a diocese (a Roman administrative unit), that office was filled by someone chosen by local people and priests, then ratified by the neighboring bishops, as a sign of the unity of the Church. Even the unbaptized were eligible, as we know from the oft-told story of St. Ambrose, whom the clergy and people of Milan chose as their bishop while he was still a catechumen. The first bishop of the United States, John Carroll, was elected by the priests of Maryland and confirmed by the pope. Today, we are so used to the pope choosing our bishops for us that we think it was always that way. It wasn’t. In fact, the right of the pope to choose bishops was only settled with the 1917 Code of Canon Law, a papal document that clearly allocated that power to the holder of the papal office.
“Arguably, there is some limited lay input in the selection of bishops. When a priest is being considered for appointment as bishop, the papal nuncio sends out what are called apostolic letters to a select group, which may include laypeople from the area, asking their opinion of the candidate based on some very specific questions …”
By Nicholas P. Cafardi, Commonweal — Read more …