Editorial: Plenary Council contributions and concerns
Ten years ago Catholics for Renewal urged the Australian bishops to convene a long-overdue plenary council in 2015, the 50th anniversary of the close of Vatican II. From the time they decided a Plenary Council was opportune we have made every effort to ensure it succeeds in renewing our Church. ...............we do have some serious concerns, some voiced publicly and others privately, that the Council is not adequately attending to the expressed needs of the people of God....
FULL EDITORIAL HERE Painting: Into the Light. Pinterest, Osnat Fine Art Previous Editorials HERE
FIFTH PLENARY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA
Plenary Council, 18 June 2021
As children of God, disciples of Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, the Members of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia are called to develop concrete proposals to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia at this time.
‘I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.’ - Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 27
Download Agenda HERE
Dead end or no end? could synodality really be the "turning point"?
Limited extracts from Justin Stanwix*, Australia, Subscription Journal LA Croix International. 16 June 2021
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany made a noble gesture when recently he tendered his resignation to Pope Francis. He stated his impression that the Church is "at a dead end". Quintessentially, he allowed the potential of a "turning point". That is the essence of Jesus' message. Thankfully, the cardinal's offer has been refused and for good reason. The pope reminded him that it remains time to tend the sheep. Probably more urgently than ever. The generosity and undoubtedly prayerful discernment that preceded the cardinal's offer must be acknowledged. The inherent rectitude and personal penalty involved as he shouldered vicarious responsibility for the sexual abuse crisis, in the interest of the whole Church, may appeal to many. A missionary Church that has made many mistake throughout history But his offer raises the question about how we see ourselves as Church. Even for a reason of generous proportion is it acceptable to offer to quit in such circumstances? No cavil about the sinful situation in which we find ourselves. My issue is about how we should respond, move forward and give example. How we live the Gospel message now. We are not solely individuals in our Church, the institution is not only human and its fundamentally divine nature is not of our making. We are a missionary Church and a pilgrim people. The People of God have accumulated plenty of missionary mistakes, repeated atrociously sinful behavior and have failed to learn even obvious lessons. We wasted no time after the death of Jesus in Beatitudes-absent behavior. Given the history of the two thousand years since, we are highly likely to engage in some lamentable repetition. At some point we must move beyond the sexual abuse crisis. Obviously, I don't mean ignore it or avoid the guilt, the shame and the ongoing responsibility we have in many ways to victims and families. The Holy Spirit is in charge As Church we have a rugged history. Our missionary Church has faced division, scandal and an abundance of challenge. The whole while we have been blessed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. No doubt at times the Spirit has shuddered but the promise of Jesus to be with his Church until the end of time is no mean promise. We may never gainsay that certainty because it is the Gospel message. We can celebrate prayerful and beautiful liturgies for the great occasions of our Church – or not. But we cannot ignore the Holy Spirit in our lives and his presence in our Church and in the world............The pope seeks to encourage a synodal Church where we work together collaboratively at all levels, abandon clericalism and monarchical structures and operate much differently from the way we do at present. In this context, the decision to defer the Synod of Bishops' assembly on synodality, while a world-wide consultation of the international Church takes place, must be embraced for the quantum change it represents.............(Source) *Justin Stanwix is a deacon at St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish in the Diocese of Wollongong (Australia).
All New Zealand Catholics will get a say in upcoming synod
Extract from CathNews NZ, 3 June 2021
The NZ Catholic Bishops’ Conference says the views of all New Zealand Catholics will be sought during an expanded Synod of Bishops’ process announced by the pope. Pope Francis has frequently called for the bishops, priests and people to walk together in a common mission of the Church,” says Conference president Cardinal John Dew. “He believes it is imperative to listen to the People of God, which means going to local churches to hear what they say.” Francis wants all Catholic dioceses to consult with parishioners from 17 October to get local-level views on the topic for the next synod, entitled a “Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”. “The Holy Father wants to hear the voices of all the baptised,” Dew says.......Most of these people consider they are no longer regular parishioners and wonder how limiting the process to going to parishes and consulting parishioners will work. Jerome De Rosario is a 40-year-old Wellington professional. A “retired catholic”, he thinks the Church needs a different strategy and fresh ideas and hopes the Synod might accomplish this. However, he expressed surprise the Church did not factor in what it already knows, that most Catholics don’t belong to parishes and do not go to Mass. Alex Jordan, a university student from Massey, Auckland, also picks up on the parish emphasis. “The voice of the bulk of baptised Catholics won’t be heard because they don’t belong to the outdated parish structure, he said. “At most, they’re gathering 5% of the baptised. “The data will be skewed from the outset”, he said. “If this is worth doing it’s worth doing well. I hope the Church gets good advice.” Non-parishioners also need to be considered says Richard McKenna, a 30 something manager in Wellington. “By focussing on parishes many people who are still fringe Catholics but not regular parishioners, and may feel excluded. This statement seems to confirm our exclusion”. He hopes it is not the ‘last word’ and the criteria and methodology will also consider non-parishioners may wish to contribute and have valuable ideas. “I much prefer the Vatican’s focus, consulting with ‘The People of God'”, he said.....(more).
Convocation of Catholics - Video
Sr. Joan Chittister OSB
Friday 7 May 2021
Synodality and papal primacy
Questions regarding the Catholic Church today and the next pope.
Limited extract from Massimo Faggioli, subscription journal La Croix International, 20210427
"There's a short path that is long, and a long path that is short". In the third seasons of the Netflix series Shtisel, an eminent ultra-Orthodox rabbi who heads a yeshiva in Jerusalem offers that bit of sage advice to a star student who is dealing with a life-and-death decision. Short paths tend to become shortcuts leading nowhere, while wisdom suggests taking time to make a decision. "A long path that is short" is indeed a good way to explain the virtue of synodality, the biggest wager Pope Francis has made for the Catholic Church today. Five and half years after he delivered what can be called his magna carta on synodality to the 2015 assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the pope's persistent push in favor of a synodal Church is having effects. In different areas of the Catholic world, there are ecclesial events of a synodal nature unfolding or being prepared. A synodal movement that requires time and presence: There is Australia's historic Plenary Council, which will hold its first meeting in October. And there is the "synodal path" already underway in Germany. Preparations are currently being made for a national synod in Ireland and, after much insistence from the pope, the Church in Italy is finally beginning plans for its own synod. The editors of the Jesuit-run magazine, America, have just argued for plenary council for the Catholic Church in the United States. At the supra-national level, the Latin American bishops have launched their own ecclesial assembly, the first-ever "Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean". This synodal movement is unfolding at a time of great uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. Synodality, which means the people of the Church "walking together", requires gathering together in assemblies. Some of these assemblies (e.g. in Germany and Australia) have been delayed or postponed, and the same is likely to happen again in other places. And it's possible the next ordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops -- which is scheduled for October 2022 and based on the theme --"For a synodal Church: communion, participation, and mission" could also be delayed.....(Source)
Ten thousand clerical sex abuse cases in France
Extract from Tom Heneghan, The Tablet, 3 March 2021
At least 10,000 cases of sexual abuse have taken place in the Catholic Church in France since 1950, according to a senior retired judge. Jean-Marc Sauvé, a respected retired judge who heads the independent commission investigating sexual abuse, confirmed to journalists on Tuesday that it had found “at least 10,000” cases of sexual abuse in the Church since 1950. That was a jump from his announcement last June of “at least 3,000” cases, and he said researchers still had more archives to work through. He disclosed his latest findings shortly after France’s bishops held an extraordinary plenary assembly by video conference last month to ponder their moral responsibility in the sexual abuse crisis. Participants said it helped them better understand the abuse scandal and examine what obligation they had for crimes committed decades ago. Church leaders have said victims deserved some financial reparation from them, but left details until later....(more)
Pope appoints woman Under-Secretary at Synod of Bishops
Pope Francis appoints two new Under-Secretaries to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops: Sr Nathalie Becquart and Fr Luis Marín de San Martín.
By Vatican News staff writer, Vatican News, 6 February 2021
Pope Francis has appointed Sr Nathalie Becquart and Fr Luis Marín de San Martín to be the Under-Secretaries of the Synod of Bishops. Currently headed by Cardinal Mario Grech, the Synod of Bishops is a permanent institution established by Pope Paul VI in 1965, in response to the desire of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council to keep alive the spirit of collegiality engendered by the conciliar experience. The appointment of Sr Natalie Becquart is particularly interesting as it is the first time ever a woman has been appointed to this position. Biography Sr Nathalie Becquart. Nathalie Becquart was born in 1969 in Fontainebleau, France. She graduated from the HEC school of management with a Master in Management with a specialization in Entrepreneurship in Jouy-en-Josas in 1992, and went on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Between 1992-1993 she spent her volunteer year in Beirut, Lebanon, working as a Professor of Mathematics and French in a Catholic High School and taking philosophy and theology courses at ISSR-St Joseph Jesuit University of Beirut. This was followed by two years working as a Consultant in a marketing and advertising agency for NGO’s and Christian organizations (EJC consulting) in Paris. Nathalie Joined the Xaviere sisters, missionaries of Christ-Jesus (Apostolic Congregation of Ignatian Spirituality) in August 1995 and took her final vows in September 2005. She has since worked in various roles including Spiritual Director for the Ignatian Youth Network in France National Coordinator of the scouting program for youth in poor urban multicultural areas, Scouts de France; President of the Ignatian association “Life at Sea, entry into prayer”; Director of Campus Ministry in Créteil (University of East Paris) and member of the diocesan office of youth ministry, WYD diocesan coordinator in 2007-2008; Deputy Director of the National Service for the Evangelization of Youth and for Vocations (SNEJV), in charge of university pastoral care, at the French Episcopal Conference; Director of the National Service for the Evangelization of Youth and for Vocations (SNEJV) at the French Bishop’s conference (Sept. 2012-August 2018 for a 6 years term); Member of the Bishop’s council of the Diocese of Nanterre France (with Bishop Michel Aupetit, who is now the Archbishop of Paris); Vice-President of the European Vocations Service (CCEE).....(more). Photo: Fr Luis Marin and Sr Nathalie Becquart, Vatican News
Joe Biden’s Catholicism
Extract from Paul Collins, Pearls and Irritations, John Menadue website, 18 January 202
Most of them keep their faith private, but Biden is different; he’s right up-front about his Catholicism. ‘It’s foundational to who he is,’ his long-time friend, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware says. Coons also says that Biden’s stances on social justice, race, refugee and environmental issues are informed by ‘a deeply rooted sense of fairness’ that he learned from his parents and his Catholic formation. He has profoundly assimilated the Christian sense of the importance of the community over individualism, of putting others before self, and he sees politics in the words of Pope Francis ‘as something more noble than posturing, marketing and social spin.’ As well as the Catholic tradition of social justice, his faith is deeply rooted in the church’s spirituality and practice. He attends Mass every Sunday and quite often on weekdays. He prays regularly, often quotes the bible in political speeches and even publicly bursts into popular hymns, as he did in his November 7, 2020 victory speech when he quoted Michael Joncas’ hymn On Eagle’s Wings. ‘In the last days of the campaign,’ he said, ‘I began thinking about a hymn that means a lot to me and my family, particularly my deceased son Beau. It captures the faith that sustains me and…I hope it can provide some comfort and solace to the…Americans who have lost a loved one through this terrible virus this year.’ He then quoted the first verse:.....(more). Photo: Paul Collins
Catholic Church Reform Int'l recently released a survey inviting people globally to describe their experience of Covid-19 and freely share its effect on their experience of church, their place in the human family, and their hopes and dreams for our world. We were interested in knowing whether the experience of the lockdown had changed what is important to them and whether they intended to change anything about their life as they transitioned through the pandemic. Providentially, we find it encouraging that this is also the topic of Pope Francis's newest book: Let us Dream: the Path to a Better Future.
This broad initiative was in response to the Papal Exhortation on the Amazonian Synod,
released in February 2020, just as the Corona virus pandemic began its
global impact. Just as Francis immersed himself into the people and the
culture they live in to understand the obstacles and opportunities they
face, likewise, through this survey, we have attempted to do the same –
really listening to the diversity of voices and seeking the
Spirit-guided perspectives of the People of God. The survey was
conducted from July to September 2020 in five languages (English,
Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese) with responses from thirty
countries spanning six continents. While we believe we speak for a
broader group, when we refer to the People of God, we are primarily
reflecting the views of the participants in this survey. The summary result, which we dare to call A Peoples Exhortation,
is a parallel effort to reflect an incarnate journey and to collect
broad perspectives with many points of connectedness. For centuries, the
Catholic Church has tried to make everyone sing one note, but we
believe beautiful harmony can be made from all the different notes....(More) (Context of photo on source page - Pope Francis at Youth Synod).