The “whole church” self-evidently includes many more people than simply the self-appointed oligarchy of bishops and their clergy, but the Vatican has never made any serious effort to involve the rest of us in the affairs of the Church – beyond serving as fund-raisers and cheap labour for the simpler tasks. Questions of serious planning and decision-taking it keeps very carefully to its own. However, as I have noted frequently, there are abundant and increasing signs that ordinary Catholics, lay people, religious women, married priests now outside of institutional control, and some more progressive regular priests are recognizing the importance of making a full contribution to the life of the Church. Where they are not being properly involved by the institutional oligarchy, they are simply doing it for themselves.
One of the more impressive examples of this comes from the diocese of Minneapolis / St Paul, which has just brought to fruition their very successful “Synod of the Baptized”. This has been the fruit of long months of hard work and preparation, so I was delighted to read how well the event seems to have gone off – and that the team are already engaged in planning for the next stage.
Taken from the Progressive Catholic Voice, these are some extracts from a report by Paula Ruddy:
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If signs of the Holy Spirit’s action in a group are joy and hope, Saturday’s Synod of the Baptized was a Spirit-filled place. Most of us were not able to see tongues of fire, but we heard voluble talk and shining eyes while people spoke of their experience of oneness.
The experience boiled over into Sunday liturgies in at least three parishes with many Synod goers.
Sponsored by the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) and held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on Industrial Boulevard in Northeast Minneapolis, the Synod attracted 492 participants.
Paul Lakeland, Fairfield University professor and prolific author, spoke on the mission of the Church and what we have to do to become the Church we need. (To read the full transcript of his keynote address, click here.) Lakeland is an ecclesiologist, a student of the theology of Church. He said the mission of the Church is to the world and the role of the institutional structure of the Church is to support the laity in doing that mission. The test of the value of any policy or practice of the institutional Church is whether it supports the laity in its mission.
The Synod was a full day of talk and plans for action.
Read the full article at Progressive Catholic Voice
The next and obvious question is, “Where next?” – or are committed and baptized Catholics found only in the Twin Cities?
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