Monday, September 16, 2013

Countdown to Synod 2013

is just two weeks away!

If you haven't registered yet, now is the time to do so!

To register online,
click here.
(To have an informational brochure/registration form
mailed to you, call 612-379-1043.)

The Progressive Catholic Voice is committed to "Co-creating the Living Church" and so continues today its "Countdown to Synod 2013" series by looking at recent media coverage of both Synod 2013 and the organization behind it, the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR).

(NOTE: For the first installment in this series, which contains basic information about Synod 2013, click here. For the second, which focuses on Synod keynote speaker Sister Gail Worcelo, click here. For the third, which focuses on Synod 2013's theme of evolutionary spirituality, click here.)

Synod of the Baptized and CCCR in the News . . .

We start with an excerpt from Beth Hawkin's September 6 MinnPost article, "Catholic Lay Group Wants A 'Place at the Table' with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis."

Several hundred people are expected to converge on a Bloomington hotel this month for an assembly of Catholics seeking church change. The third event of its kind, the gathering is called the Synod of the Baptized.

In the Roman Catholic Church, a synod is a meeting at which bishops consider matters of church governance or teaching. Those in attendance may vote on proposals for consideration by the pope, who may accept or reject the synod’s wishes.

Trying to find an analogous structure for giving the laity a voice in the discussion, the Catholics who will gather later this month . . . would like [their voice] to be heard [on issues such as] human sexuality, women’s equality, the selection of bishops, and financial transparency.

“The use of the word” — synod — “is fairly intentional,” explained Korla Masters, who is helping to coordinate the event. “They are exploring the definition of who does in fact have baptismal authority to enter into decision-making.”

The gathering is intended in part to fill a void created when an archdiocesan pastoral council, an advisory body that included lay people, was disbanded in 2005. Since then, the archbishop and his staff have handled planning, sometimes with the help of ad hoc task forces that included the laity.

The Synod of the Baptized is one part of a five-year-old effort to generate more two-way communication, said Masters. To date, 1,500 people have signed up for its communications.

“There are a lot of folks who are raised Catholic and who at whatever age, but especially young people, are disaffected and alienated from their church,” she said. “Catholics want to come together to increase lay voices.”

[. . .] This year’s synod will feature Sister Gail Worcelo as keynote speaker. [Worcelo] is the co-founder of the Green Mountain Monastery, which is dedicated to healing and protecting Earth and its life systems.

Breakout sessions will address building alternative church models, moving beyond alienation, and developing a healthy theological perspective on sexuality.

Next is an excerpt from an article in the September 10 issue of the Shoreview Press. In this article CCCR board member Mary Beth Stein (right) shares her thoughts not only on Synod 2013, but also on why she is dedicated to staying in the Catholic Church.

[Mary Beth Stein] understands why people wonder if there’s a denomination more suited to her beliefs, but she can’t abandon the tradition she grew up in.

“I am a Catholic and have always been a Catholic, so it is part of my identity,” she said, adding that the sacraments and Mass hold great meaning to her, as does the church’s long history of social justice.

What’s more, said Stein, to leave Catholicism would be to abandon the people who she believes are being hurt by the church’s actions.

“When I look at the practices that the Catholic Church engages in, I see that they’re not always consistent with, well, the Gospel,” she said.

On Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Ramada Mall of America Hotel in Bloomington, CCCR will hold its premier event of the year: the third Synod of the Baptized, a daylong organization of Catholic lay people discussing and learning about ways to change the church’s mindset to one Stein sees as more culturally current. Stein is one of the primary planners of the event, which has “Co-creating the living church” as its theme this year.

“The Synod of the Baptized is a gathering of a growing community of Catholics who would like to revitalize our church [and] bring some reform to our church,” Stein said. “We see areas that are not life-giving for Catholics and are in some cases holding us back.”

Though Stein said she attends a very welcoming parish in the metro area (one she declined to name, citing concerns about archdiocese dealings with the parish), she felt for years that Catholicism as a whole was “excluding” of certain people groups, including women, people who have been divorced and remarried, homosexuals and more.

She feels the approach is inconsistent with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, the mid-sixties council of Catholic leaders that resulted in several documents laying out modernized guidelines for the church as a whole. Though many of those documents did not change the Catholic Church’s approach to topics like reproductive activity or women in the priesthood, Stein and the rest of CCCR believe the spirit of the council encourages the church to reform and practice openness.

Mary Beth Stein also recently featured in the following six-minute video by Peter Shea, in which she discusses both CCCR and Synod 2013.

Finally, the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform is very much the focus of Rose French's September 16 Star Tribune article, "Reform Group Denied Seat at Archbishop Nienstedt’s Financial Meeting." Following is an excerpt.

Archbishop John Nienstedt is expected to discuss church finances and a proposed $165 million capital campaign at a meeting with priests on Monday, and a group of Catholics calling for greater financial transparency from church leaders thinks they should be allowed in, too.

Members of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform asked to attend the Priest Finance Day at Pax Christi church in Eden Prairie but were told by Nienstedt in a letter dated Aug. 21 that the meeting is “intended to be a professional gathering for those who have been duly ordained to the Catholic priesthood.”

Robert Beutel, a St. Paul attorney and co-chair of the board of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, said the group of lay Catholics argues that issues dealing with parish and archdiocesan finances should be open to Catholics in the pews, not just clergy.

“It’s our money,” Beutel said. “It’s like taxation without representation. … We want the lay people to be a part of all of this, the budgeting, decision-making, the oversight.”

During the meeting, Nienstedt is expected to address the capital campaign, proposed to be shared with parishes and other partners to raise money for Catholic schools, charities, seminarian education and preservation of the St. Paul Cathedral and the Basilica of St. Mary.

The annual Catholic Services Appeal, another major fundraiser, is also expected to be discussed, as well as lay and priest pension plans, Beutel said.

. . . Charles Zech, director of the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova University, noted that Protestant churches tend to be more open and transparent with people in the pews, compared to the Catholic Church.

“There should be some venue for him [Nienstedt] to meet with the laity to discuss these very issues,” Zech said. “If I was the archbishop and I was hoping to raise some millions of dollars, I’m not going to do it through my priests, I’m going to do it through my laity.”

The [Catholic Coalition for Church Reform] is [holding] a Synod of the Baptized assembly to discuss changes they’d like to see in the church on Sept. 28 at the Mall of America Ramada in Bloomington. Previous assemblies have attracted close to 500 people.

Remember, Synod 2013 registration is easy!
You can register online, here.
Or call 612-379-1043 to have a brochure/registration form
mailed to you.

Looking forward to seeing you at
Synod 2013!

See also the previous PCV posts:
Save the Date: Synod of the Baptized, September 28, 2013
Countdown to Synod 2013 (Part 1)
Countdown to Synod 2013 (Part 2)
Countdown to Synod 2013 (Part 3)
A Homily for Evolutionary Sunday
Dueling Worldviews

No comments:

Post a Comment