Coordinated local effort seeks to initiate dialogue and discern recommendations for reform
Currently across the Twin Cities metro area, small groups of Catholics are gathering in “work/study groups” to discuss a range of issues crucial to the local church. It’s an intentional and coordinated effort set in motion by the April 18 prayer breakfast that heralded the launching of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR). Although not officially sanctioned by the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, CCCR is composed of many individuals who are both members of local parishes and dedicated to respectful dialogue and hoped-for reform concerning various issues currently polarizing the Church.
Bernie Rodel, a member of CCCR leadership, notes that the coalition is an “organized mechanism for speaking out . . . the coming together of organizations of concerned and caring Catholics who promote the full participation of the baptized in all aspects of church life.”
Accordingly, the coalition is planning a series of “synods of the baptized,” the first of which is scheduled for September 18, 2010. Entitled “Claiming Our Place at the Table,” the 2010 Synod is being billed as a “workshop to address our role as baptized Catholics within the institutional church in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”
Paul Lakeland (pictured at right), director of the Center for Catholic Studies and the Aloysius P. Kelly Professor of Catholic Studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut, will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 synod. It’s an appropriate choice as Lakeland’s most recent book is the award-winning Catholicism at the Crossroads: How the Laity Can Save the Church.
The numerous work/study groups that have begun meeting on a regular basis throughout the Twin Cities metro area are a key part of the preparations for CCCR’s 2010 Synod. Their purpose is to gather people together who share a passion for reforming certain areas of church life. These areas are ones that many have long recognized as being at odds with the Gospel message of love proclaimed by Jesus. They include clericalism, the selection of bishops, official teaching on sexuality and gender, and church authority and governance. Other areas are less controversial though still crucial when discussing renewal of the Church – Catholic spirituality; Catholic identity/Christian identity; social justice; and children, youth, and church.
Coalition member Paula Ruddy explains the rationale for the work/study groups as follows: “We identify with the tradition of baptismal responsibility for creating an institution that supports the human development of all its members. We also believe that grace builds upon nature. Accordingly, when institutional teachings and practices undermine full adult human development they hinder participation in the Church’s mission to bring the Gospel message to the world. Such teachings and practices must be identified and reformed.”
The plan that’s underway is that for the next sixteen months leading up to the 2010 Synod, each work/study group will prepare to present questions and recommendations for the Synod’s input and approval. The questions will be focused on the ways the local church does and does not manifest the Gospel message through its culture and practices. The Synod will then produce concrete recommendations for accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.
The primary outcome of the 2010 Synod will be the election of a Coordinating Council whose task will be to create mechanisms of horizontal and vertical communication within the Archdiocese so as to begin conversation about implementing the recommendations for reform.
It’s certainly not too late to become involved in one or more of CCCR’s work/study groups. To find out more information about the groups, click here. To sign-up, call Paula Ruddy at 612-379-1043.
See also the previous PCV posts:
“Something Exciting and Joyous”
In What Sense Are We Progressive Catholics? An Offering for Reflection and Discussion