Thursday, September 8, 2011

"We, Together, Are the Church": A Response to Archbishop Nienstedt

Chuck Pilon responds to Archbishop John C. Nienstedt's July 18 letter in which he cautions the priests of the Archdiocese and the Catholic faithful against attending the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform's September 17 Synod of the Baptized.

I wish you well, Archbishop Nienstedt. You are a man dedicated to the Church – the institutional, Roman Catholic version of Church.

Based on my understanding of Church as clarified by the Second Vatican Council, in my opinion, Archbishop, in your way and your style of being a bishop you have betrayed the Catholic Church – which is to say you have betrayed us, the People of God – ordinary people, baptized into the Body of Christ.

The Church you envision does not square (again, in my opinion) with the second Reading for the (Cycle A this year) second Sunday after Easter, the Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47. There we find the simplest description of the community of followers – call it Church to make it simple – a community of followers established by Jesus of Nazareth through his teaching, his way of life and his death and resurrection.

We, together, are the Church – neither you alone, with your episcopal call and charism, nor we alone, with our Baptism into Christ and our call to the kind of lives lived and told of in that short passage from the Acts of the Apostles.

I encourage you to find ways to live and work together within the People of God – people made so, not through consecration as a bishop, as you were, but through Baptism into Christ, our teacher, our model for life, who paid the price for his teaching and his way of life, the one Jesus of Nazareth.

– Charles J. Pilon
Author, Waiting for Mozart:
A Novel about Church People Caught in Conflict

See also the previous PCV posts:
"All Voices Must Be Heard": A Response to Archbishop Nienstedt
Archbishop Nienstedt's July 18 Letter
Talking About Disconnects: One Response to Archbishop Nienstedt
Notes on the Magisterium
The Consensus of the Faithful as the Voice of the Infallible Church
Acclaimed Church Historian Marvin O'Connell to Discuss Cardinal Newman
The Call of the Baptized: Be the Church, Live the Mission
Richard Gaillardetz on the Need to "Wrestle with the Tradition"
Nicholas Lash on Dissent and Disagreement
Communicating With Leadership
It's Critical That Catholics Find Their Voice
Let Our Voices Be Heard!

1 comment:

  1. Lumen Gentium, the SV Council's document on the Church, states that

    "Christ, the one Mediator, established and continually sustains here on earth His holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity, as an entity with visible delineation (9*) through which He communicated truth and grace to all. But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element.(10*) For this reason, by no weak analogy, it is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body.(73) (11*)"

    This same document, the document that speaks of the universal call to holiness, the importance of all the Faithful, and the nature of Church as "People of God," states that

    "Every legitimate celebration of the Eucharist is regulated by the bishop, to whom is committed the office of offering the worship of Christian religion to the Divine Majesty and of administering it in accordance with the Lord's commandments and the Church's laws, as further defined by his particular judgment for his diocese."

    The writers of this incendiary document must not have gotten the memo about the "Spirit of the Council".....