Thursday, August 30, 2018

Time for Catholics to Build a New Church, "Radical Reform of Catholic Culture and the Meaning of Ordination Itself." National Catholic Reporter Editorial, My Response

While the blame- game continues at the Vatican and in the U.S., ordinary Catholics are angry and feel betrayed for decades of cover-up by bishops of  the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Ultimately, horrific secrets that are hidden in Vatican archives and buried in confidentiality agreements should be made public if we are to know what really happened. 
We need a tribunal run by an independent investigative team led by lay women and men to find out the complete truth. They would have authority to remove bishops from office who covered up criminal sexual abuse by priests. Only when we know the truth, can we  move forward  to create a new Church that is accountable, inclusive and empowering. 

People light candles during an Aug. 20 vigil to protest sexual abuse in the Chilean Catholic church outside the Santiago cathedral. (CNS/Reuters/Ivan Alvarado)

On one hand, the old hierarchical structures appear to be breaking down right before our eyes, while on the other hand, Catholics are demanding accountability and offering real solutions to the hierarchy. They are making their voices heard in public protests around the country and in prayerful gatherings on the streets and  in churches. 

More than likely, some Catholics plan to withhold money from the collection plate until  real changes are made, such as Pope Francis addressing recent allegations about his role and  the role of other prelates in the cover-up of sexual abuse of children. The National Catholic Reporter is calling for  a system-wide independent full  investigation. I agree with the editorial by the National Catholic Reporter. It gives an excellent overview of the history including reviewing John Paul 11's response/lack of holding bishops' accountable) (See article below)

In order to move away from a top-down pyramid clerical, hierarchical led Church to the earlier and longer tradition of community partnership, the Church needs the gifts and spirituality of women. The majority of Catholics in the U.S. Canada, Europe and in some countries in South America favor women priests and are ready to build a new, more vibrant Church.  Our international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement has been leading grassroots inclusive communities since 2002. Now is the time for Catholics to build a new Church that is more open, transparent, compassionate, equal and just.  Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,,, 703-505-0004

National Catholic Reporter Morning

"The National Catholic Reporter calls for “radical reform of Catholic clerical culture and the meaning of ordination itself” in an editorial that also calls for independent investigations at every level of the church, publication of names of credibly accused priests in every diocese and the abolition of confidentiality agreements of victims...
The papacy of Francis, so promising of needed reform, stands at an inflection point. Either he handles this crisis with effective, wide-ranging and concrete actions, or his tenure will go down as a disappointing failure.
Most important, the current moment must lead to a radical reform of Catholic clerical culture and the meaning of ordination itself. If we cannot begin this challenging work, we should at least have the honesty to say that a monstrous evil has prevailed and that we no longer understand what it means to be a church of Jesus Christ.
Change must come from the top. In the United States, it must be initiated by the nation's Conference of Catholic Bishops. Globally, we look to Pope Francis, whose humble example and goodness have changed the culture of the papacy in dramatic ways, to acknowledge the precipice and guide us as a united church away from it.
We do appreciate, as well as any on the outside can, the difficulties and dangers Francis faces. Powerful forces in the church have been trying to sabotage his papacy from the earliest days. The latest came in the form of a letter from Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganĂ², a disgruntled former nuncio to the United States. His correspondence is disjointed and riddled with inaccuracies and unsubstantiated allegations that Francis knew about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of seminarians and children years ago.
The gloves are clearly off, the internecine fighting has gone public and the enemies of Francis are, without conscience or nuance, seizing this moment of turmoil as an opportunity to undermine his papacy. We question whether their commitment to keep children safe is genuine and worry that the noise surrounding ViganĂ²'s letter will serve only to distract from real and necessary reform...
The history is significant because any path into the future must consider the mistakes of the past. It must be acknowledged that the emergence of the sex abuse crisis spanned most of the reign of St. Pope John Paul II. Revelations of abuse and cover-up accumulated almost monthly during his long pontificate, and he provided the model for the hierarchy's approach to the growing scandal. Not once did he meet with victims. While decrying abuse, he did nothing to require accountability from his bishops, most of whom he appointed. He refused to listen to the few who dared warn him.
One of John Paul's examples of "heroic priesthood" was Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order, who molested youngsters in his schools and fathered at least two children by different women. John Paul, who once referred to Maciel as "an efficacious guide to youth," blocked adjudication of a case against the notorious pedophile. He repeatedly ignored detailed and persuasive accounts from accomplished men who had left the order because of Maciel's abuse.
Given the ethos of the current era, John Paul would be a certain target for discipline. There is clearly a danger in rushing someone to sainthood.
Church leaders have been slow to acknowledge the implications of the failure of the clerical culture, that clubby, secretive, all-male construct whose members often exercised extreme control over the lives of the faithful. It is beyond time to do a deep examination of the damning record, and John Paul II stands in the middle of it..."
Of the conservative bishops releasing statements of praise for Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Michael Sean Winters, writes about conservative bishops statements of affirmation for Archbishop Carlo Vigano. He writes they:  “seem to have forgotten that they took an oath of fidelity to the pope in the presence of his nuncio, not an oath to the nuncio in the presence of the pope.” It clear that Pope Francis’ critics will stop at nothing to take him down, he writes, and that”calls for "lay leadership" are a smokescreen for the ambitions to power harbored by those like Busch who simply hate the pope.”

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