Posts Tagged Vatican II

Voice of the Faithful endorses U.S. priests’ statement on priestly formation

BOSTON, Mass., Apr. 11, 2018 – Voice of the Faithful, a movement of Roman Catholics whose major goals include supporting priests, endorses the recent statement made by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests that calls for revisions in the training of men for ordination to the priesthood to ensure greater adherence to the tenets of the Second Vatican Council and teachings of Pope Francis.

The impetus for AUSCP’s statement stems from the 2016 mandate of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy that each bishop’s conference update its Program for Priestly Formation.

“Our study and reflection persuade us that a new Program of Priestly Formation needs more than minimal editing … It needs in-depth revisions,” the priests said in a letter to Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on the Consecrated Life and Vocations. “Our comments are made in response to the significant challenges facing the Church in the United States.”

The priests include among these challenges fewer Catholics actively participating in the Church, fewer priests and candidates for the priesthood, fewer converts, fewer Church weddings, fewer baptisms, fewer parishes, and more people identifying themselves as “spiritual” rather than “religious.”

The AUSCP statement, “Preparing the Sixth Edition of the Program of Priestly Formation,” points to six overriding concerns: faithfulness to Vatican II, call to service, pastoral model of priestly formation, psychosexual development and celibacy, discernment processes, and faculty formation. As stated in their letter, these thoughts are “grounded” in Vatican II, in the writings, statements, and actions of Pope Francis, and in their own experiences. In their statement, the priests make recommendations to help address each of these concerns. Use this link to read the AUSCP’s entire letter and statement.

In endorsing this statement, VOTF points out it has long sought greater emphasis on Vatican II values, including less “clerical,” more pastoral priests, who place service as their highest calling. VOTF also sees as immensely valuable a greater emphasis on psychosexual training for the priesthood, which may have helped avert or at least ameliorate the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

The priests conclude their statement by pointing out that the “current seminary model was established nearly 500 years ago.” As its motto, “Keep the faith, change the Church,” suggests, VOTF would agree that time for change is here.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, Apr. 11, 2018

Contact: Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org, 781-559-3360

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity, and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Pope invokes ‘magisterial authority’ to declare liturgy change ‘irreversible’ / Cruxnow.com

“Battles over liturgical practice have been a chronic feature of Catholic life since Vatican II.” (Cruxnow.com)

Addressing a group of liturgical experts on Thursday (Aug. 24), Pope Francis said that after the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and a long path of experience, ‘We can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.’

“The declaration came in a speech on Thursday (Aug. 24) to Italy’s ‘Center of Liturgical Action,’ which sponsors an annual National Liturgical Week.

“By ‘liturgical reform,’ Pope Francis meant the changes in Catholic rituals and modes of worship which followed from Vatican II, the most immediately visible elements of which included Mass facing the congregation, the use of vernacular languages, and a stronger emphasis on the ‘full, conscious and active’ participation of the people.

“Although Pope Francis is often seen as having less interest in liturgical questions than some of his predecessors, this was a lengthy and carefully footnoted reflection, roughly 2,500 words in all.”

By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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Today is Pope Francis’ Anniversary: Cardinal Cupich says he is giving new life to Vatican II reforms.

Today is the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis’ pontificate. Joshua J. McElwee of National Catholic Reporter gives us a review of reform efforts through an interview with Cardinal Blase Cupich, whom Pope Francis named archbishop of Chicago in 2014 and a cardinal last November.

In his four years as the leader of the global Catholic Church, Pope Francis has been giving new life to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, says Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich.

In an NCR interview in advance of the March 13 anniversary of Francis’ election, the cardinal said the pontiff is ‘reinvigorating that experience of the church’ that people had following the reforms of the 1962-65 council.

‘As I read the reaction of people to him I think back to how people were responding to the council with that same sense of hopefulness and joy, pride about the church that we saw at that time,’ said Cupich.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter —  Read more …

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North Carolina ‘Church in Exile’ battles restorationists / National Catholic Reporter

“The clericalism has been canonized,” said a religious sister active in parish ministry in the diocese who also did not want to be named for fear of incurring the wrath of the bishop.

It’s a few nights after a January snowstorm, and the mountain pathways around Waynesville are treacherous. Still, some 30 Catholics arrive for a meeting to talk about their parish.

“Or perhaps their former parish. These are the people of St. John the Evangelist Church in Waynesville who, soon after the arrival of Fr. Christopher Riehl as parish administrator in July 2014, formed what they call a Church in Exile.

“They described why they left: Their de facto pastor told the mostly cradle Catholics they had been doing everything all wrong. The liturgy — overwhelmed with popular contemporary hymns and such standbys as “Amazing Grace” — was not deemed Catholic enough. Veteran catechists were told they weren’t teaching traditional Catholicism. A blind parishioner, holding her guide dog with one hand and seeking Communion with the other, was told she lacked proper reverence. The host was stuck into her mouth …

“It is not a unique situation. Across the country, some young pastors, inspired by their seminary training or informal networks with other young priests, are determined to push the clock back before the church’s liturgical and governance practices of the post-Vatican II era. They have what some perceive as a fetish for elaborate liturgical vestments and other externals, such as the routine wearing of cassocks and birettas. Some of these priests call themselves, and sometimes others call them, restorationists.”

By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Criticism of Pope Francis rooted in misunderstanding of Vatican II / National Catholic Reporter

N.B.: This is part one of a three-part series discussing the theologies of the papacies of Pope Francis and Pope Paul VI. Links to parts two and three of the series are listed below.

The opposition to Pope Francis is unprecedented. There have been disagreements in the life of the church before: How could there not be? And, in recent times, we have even seen some cardinals voice disappointment or even disagreement with directives coming from Rome. For example, Belgian Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens was not shy in voicing his concern about the manner in which the first synods of bishops after the Second Vatican Council were conducted. But claiming an apostolic exhortation is not magisterial? Publishing detailed challenges to the pope’s teaching? This is uncharted territory.

“I believe that the opposition to Francis is rooted in a flawed understanding of the post-conciliar era and, more specifically, where we are in the process of receiving the council. Francis, just last month, in an interview with Italian daily Avvenire, noted that it takes about 100 years to fully receive a council, and he is right. Some people thought that process was completed, and that they had mastered all the riddles of the Catholic faith in the post-conciliar age. They are very upset that their assumptions and some of their conclusions have been challenged.

“Last week marked the 51st anniversary of the close of Vatican II. In the past four years, we marked the opening of the council, commemorated the promulgation of key conciliar texts, held conferences to explore the meaning of the documents, and appropriately so, because Vatican II remains the most determinative event in the life of the Catholic church in our living memory.

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this first article in Winters’ three-part series.

Click here to read the second article in this series, “Pope Paul VI’s greatness lies in his church leaderhsip after Vatican II.”

Click here to read the third article in this series, “Different popes, different personalities — and underlying continuity.”

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Still looking for the promise of Vatican II

Despite Vatican II, my clergy professors weren’t ‘allowed to say that’

I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount University between 1981-1985. I often think fondly of the priests and nuns there — with whom I was a doting student, and with a few became friends — but the memories of most of them are bittersweet.

“My LMU years happened to fall almost exactly 20 years after the three-year span of Vatican II, from 1962-1965. The male and female clergy at LMU who were over 40, as most were, had been fresh, idealistic novices during Vatican II. Without exception, they were all deeply affected both by that brief period of optimism and upheaval, as well as the aftermath of the recoil as those institutional doors snapped back shut.”

By Amy Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter — Click here or on the title above to read the rest of this commentary.

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Who will bring forth Pope Francis’ vision? / National Catholic Reporter

Might all of Pope Francis’ efforts at reform be for naught?

Pope Francis, with the publication of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), has offered a broad and deep reflection on the myriad (and often messy) issues concerning marriage, the family and human sexuality.

“And in doing so, the 79-year-old pope has also put forth a clear vision of Christian discipleship. It is one based more on personal responsibility and prayerful discernment than on the mere following of church rules …

“… He is attempting to pick up the journey that the church had embarked upon in the first decade or so following Vatican II, but one that John Paul II halted and began to “correct” and recalibrate early on in his long pontificate (1978-2005) …

“But there is a serious challenge here. The vast majority of the world’s bishops, younger clergy (under the age of 45 or so) and seminarians are squarely on the road that St. John Paul II and his German successor built. Too many find themselves greatly conflicted by Francis and all that he is doing to shake up and renew the church.

“A good number of them are rigid personalities obsessed with the ‘clarity’ of doctrine, who find their identity in a churchy world of black and white (like the uniform they wear) and exude confidence in being the recognized and unchallenged upholders of the Truth that they believe is possessed by the church alone.”

By Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter —  Click here to read the rest of this commentary.

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Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on family stresses grace over dogma / Voice of the Faithful Statement

BOSTON, Mass., Apr. 8, 2016 – Pope Francis delivered his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, on the Bishops’ Synod on the Family today in Rome. Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful welcomes his efforts to temper dogma with grace in order to respond to 21st century lay voices.

Pundits immediately began to parse every word of Francis’ 256-page letter (click here to read Amoris Laetitia) and will continue to do so for some time, but Francis, while calling for pastoral change, is leaving the implementation of his letter to bishops. VOTF urges lay Catholics to make sure their voices are heard as the Pope’s exhortation is implemented.

We remind lay Catholic of two themes expressed by Vatican II and reiterated in Francis’ letter: the place of the teaching authority of the Church (magisterium) and the place of individual conscience in deciding how to act.

Regarding the magisterium, Francis says in his letter, “… I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it.”

In addition, Vatican II defined the teaching authority of the Church as including all the faithful People of God, lay and cleric alike. Lay voices matter. In his Commonwealmagazine article on Francis’ exhortation, Vatican pundit Massimo Faggioli says, “… the direction of this pontificate is toward a non-ideological magisterium, a more inclusive Church, a Church of mercy.”

Regarding conscience, the Pope says in his letter: “We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations. We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them.” And as Francis says elsewhere in his letter, “A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives.”

As an organization whose mission calls for the Faithful “to actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Church,” VOTF welcomes this affirmation of our efforts and encourages lay Catholics to raise their voices.

More on the responsibilities and rights of the laity is available at votf.org by using the Lay Education button under Programs.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

Contact: Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org(link sends e-mail), (781) 559-3360

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How Pope Francis’ ‘Amoris Laetitia’ could affect families and the Church / The New York Times

In what could be an important moment for his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is scheduled to issue a major document on Friday (Apr. 8) regarding family issues. It is titled ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ Latin for ‘The Joy of Love.’

“In the document, known as an apostolic exhortation, the pope could change church practice on thorny subjects like whether divorced Catholics who remarry without having obtained annulments can receive holy communion. He might address debates over same-sex relationships, cohabitation and polygamy, an issue in Africa. Or, he could sidestep such divisive topics and stick to broader philosophical statements.

“For the past two years, Francis has guided the church through a sweeping exercise of self-examination that some scholars have compared to the Second Vatican Council. Catholics around the world filled out detailed questionnaires about whether the church meets their families’ needs. Bishops and other church officials spent two tumultuous meetings at the Vatican, known as synods, debating and arguing.

“The broad topic was whether the Catholic Church should reposition itself, and how. Francis listened, prodded and sometimes steered the process, but he mostly kept his own counsel. Until now.

“Having led Catholics into such delicate terrain, Francis has stirred hope and fear. Some religious conservatives warn he could destabilize the church and undermine Catholic doctrine. Some liberals, though, are hoping Francis will directly address same-sex marriage and contraception in a way that would make the church more responsive to today’s realities.

“‘I’m sure he knew he would touch some nerves,’ said John Thavis, a longtime Vatican analyst and the author of ‘The Vatican Diaries.’ ‘He may not have appreciated how much opposition there could be.’

“But both sides might be disappointed.”

By Laurie Goodstein and Jim Yardley — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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In meeting with Fellay, Pope Francis shows double standard in the ‘culture of encounter’ / National Catholic Reporter

Earlier this week (Apr. 4), NCR’s Joshua J. McElwee reported that, on April 1, Pope Francis met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X. Founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society widely rejects the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

“According to the society’s website, the ‘false teachings’ of Vatican II include the Council’s exhortations on religious liberty, ecumenism, liturgical reforms, collegiality and what they call the ‘modernist’ idea that ‘that the human conscience is the supreme arbiter of good and evil for each individual.’ The society is an ardent defender of the Tridentine Mass (Fellay’s liturgical dress rivals any garb donned by Cardinal Raymond Burke) and believes passionately in the supremacy of the Roman Catholic church over all other religions …

“If Francis can offer a forty-minute, private meeting to a formerly excommunicated bishop who has been performing the sacraments illicitly for decades and who believes that the Catholic church is laced with false teachings, why can’t the pope also extend the same invitation to Catholic theologians, ethicists, and lay ministers who challenge the church’s teaching on women’s ordination, the use of contraception, and the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons?”

By Jamie Mason, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this column.

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