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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An Open Church--The Need for Reform

 I have stated before on this blog that one of the things that energizes me as a Catholic is the deep-rooted faith of the many good people that I meet in my travels as "The Wandering Friar". I like to emphasize that they, and not just the hierarchy, are the Church.  That having been said my attention turns to the hierarchy. I invite you to click on the two items below.  The one entitled German theologians is from the National Catholic Reporter and commented on in the blog of Daniel Horan, OFM, a brother friar.  As you go to his blog note also his comment on 4 things the Church can learn from the revolution in Egypt.  The second item, Irish Church, speaks of the dire situation of the Church in Ireland in light of the sex abuse crisis.

German Theologians
Irish Church

  I invite you to look at this material in broad terms. You may not agree with everything that is said, but I believe there is no doubt that there is a need for reform in the Church, reform of our way of doing business more than reform of doctrine or liturgy. The laity are part of the Church. They are the majority of the Church and their voice needs to be heard. There is way to much secrecy in the way decisions are made and the Vatican is weighed down with outdated modes of governance.  Does anyone know what a dicastery is? I'm a priest and I'm not sure that I know, except that it is some type of organizational structure at the Vatican. I think that the real problem is paternalism.  It is a particularly southern European cultural phenomenon that basically thinks that the "poor, simple laity ought not be bothered with the heavy concerns of the Church, forgetting that the laity today are quite well educated and capable of making a major contribution to the direction of the Church. Many American leaders are infected with the same belief. In my own Franciscan province I am happy that we see the laity as "Partners in Ministry" rather than as helpers of the priest.  The Church  at large needs to go in that direction as well.

  Just to be clear I am not advocating a Church that simply goes with the whims of the crowd, but one in which the Pope and the bishops lead by collaborating with the laity.  Also I am not throwing all the bishops under the bus.  There are some fine exceptions to this critique, but those exceptions are all too few. As a friar, priest and a man of faith I believe in the promise of the Lord at the end of Matthew's Gospel that He will be with us always.  The real question is not whether there will be a Catholic Church moving into the future, but whether it will be a youthful, vibrant and dynamic one.
Rhine, w

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