Status quo


Expectation

 

November 2015 it was 50 years since Vatican II Council was closed. The opportunity has been  used for a gathering in Rome of critical Catholics who wanted reiterated some decisions of Vatican II. A declaration covering eight issues was signed by the attendants and later by many more.

 

Three years later a similar event will be organized in Aperecida Brazil. At this Forum 2018 again lay faithful people from all over the world will reflect on Vatican II decisions but also on Council 50, on the Medellin declaration and on liberation theology. All participants may be invited to sign a declaration that proceeds on what since 2015 has come up in dialogues all over the world.

 

Tactics

 

Some critical Catholics focus  primarily at influencing the pope, changing the curia or converting cardinals and bishops. They have learned from books and lectures of Hans Küng and thousands of other theologians and tacticians what is wrong with the Institute. For 50 years thy have been writing letters to stakeholders and still do so.  Lately witnesses from Asia and Latin America have reported that some base communities which which were adopted in the ranks of dioceses lost their freedom after co-optation by the Institute.

 

Others have listened to professor Herman Haering who wrote in 2015: If you want to break into a devil’s circle, you have to deny it completely. The aim of these listeners has become to make the grassroots conscious of their key position. They try to make people  realize that not the Institute is living the Gospel but the individuals who follow Jesus.  They hold onto two paradigms. Occasionally they ventilate their anger with a letter or press release or they listen to an exceptional friendly bishop but usually with like-minded faithful they try to envision an inverted  pyramid as metaphor for the future church.

  

Liturgy

 

Some faithful hold on to the pre-vatican liturgy thinking that this old liturgy was and should be the tool to hold all Catholics together.

 

Some agree partly. They feel that liturgy should have elements prescribed for a Catholic Mass   Others feel free to change everything except for the Eucharistic prayer.

 

There are communities who hold on to the main structure of the Mass but who celebrate without a priest and without a Eucharistic prayer. They refer to Emmaus or to the meal for 5000 men.

 

Some communities feel free in arranging a celebration. There are individuals who will avoid any celebration with a priest and the old Eucharist. They feel that attendance is supporting clericalism and division of faithful in categories.

Some faithful people feel bound by the credo of the t5raditional Mass and even to the more recent dogmas although they doubt its value. Others will keep silent when a community is saying credo. Many independent communities replace credo by matters which they believe to be of evangelical value. Some feel angry when in a credo a number of dogmas are read which are conflicting with reasoning

 

Some individuals think that churchgoing is no longer relevant s criteria for being follower of Jesus. Helping each other and the underprivileged is what matters. Liturgy has been replaced by meetings of volunteers.

 

Contacts with all corners of the world show that there is not enough agreement among critical Catholics on treatment of stakeholders, on the use of credo’s and traditional liturgy. If GCN wants general support for a new statement, it should keep away from these three issues. At meetings it should not use any new or traditional credo or liturgy. It may not speak out about any attitude towards stakeholders and their preferable treatment.

 

But on justice it might try to find out which issues make the best chance of backing from all corners.

 

1.       Structure

History shows ways for flimsy ties of a community with Rome without accepting the system as a whole. Most religious orders have started independent from the local hierarchy. Later they reached a official status free from hierarchy. Rome created a department for and from these religious orders.

Small critical communities can create a similar body from and for lay people. This does not mean a body created for them by clergymen. Such a top down fake body does exist already. It is missing any sympathy of critical Catholics. The creation of and from laypeople would fit very well in the idea of the inverted pyramid of pope Francis. On the level of grassroots leaders could be chosen locally, nationally and worldwide. National leaders should function as supervisors. The worldwide body might have for limited periods an ombudsman and woman at the top with a few counselors.

  

2.       Diaconate

Recently a theologian woman from India, Kucherani Abraham published a paper about women in the Church. She shows the diaconate for women is in accordance with the Gospel and in accordance with the earliest tradition of the Church, not so the priesthood which was created many years later. Jesus was an opponent of priests. After studying Church history one still is unable to pinpoint where and by whom the anti-Christ priesthood has been introduced. We only know that the introduction was the basis for a monarchical system that still exists. Circumstances make a sudden death of the priesthood impossible. We have to accept witnessing the prolonged sickness of a cancer patient and feeling sorry of missing a remedy. In the meantime we practice being church free from the hierarchical monarchy and make the best of it. Lay preachers, councilors and an umbudsma and woman make it work.

Aparecida might ask network associates to publish a ceremony for small communities …….

 

3.       Responsible family life

The right of women to decide about their own body is put under a chapter <Freedom of conscience>. This is a misleading term.

Freedom of conscience means free from those who would urge you to follow their decrees. But it also suggests wrongfully the lack of consciousness. Therefore it calls for misunderstanding, for opposition. It causes fruitless time-consuming discussions. What supporters of freedom of conscience want to promote, is  the right to decide on your own authority in difficult situations. In a dilemma you  try to find out the consequences of each of the options . So each decision around procreation, voluntary starvation to death etc are loaded with careful considerations. When a women or man will have chosen out of  available options aware of consequences attached to each of these, it means accepting  the responsibility for these consequences. 

A big group of Latin America Women is waiting for the decision of a body like GCN to support…………..

 

4.       Cooperation of couples

Getting equal rights for men and women is completely paralyzed by the patriarchal tradition which is uphold by Catholic and other religion. In politics , business and social life one can see how women and men of equal education are gifted with the same talents for leadership.. In personal relationships a woman and a man have different strengths and weaknesses in such a way that they can help each other. The man has more muscular power while the woman by nature rules the bed.   On a certain age nature provides mutual attraction and the discovery that one could do more by being together . With your mate you can easier earn a living, get a home, educate children and accept a role in society. At its best this cooperation functions on the recognition of each other strength and weakness. In principle an agreement of give and take can last  for as long as they live together. The single man/woman relation lays on the roots of all cooperation in society. The patriarchal bond of man/woman was based on survival of the tribe like an animal species threatened to get extinct.  Procreation was important  as long as they lived.  They might die at an early age. Mankind has left this paradigm. In the life of a modern couple procreation might  be on the agenda, if ever, for two years if successful. For the rest of their life the bond may continue on the basis of mutual attraction, cooperation and the principle of give and take.

GCN might start dialogues and promote………

 

5.       Eucharist

There are two kinds of Eucharist celebrations. Characteristic for both of these is thanksgiving prayer prior to a meal. God is given thanks for all goods and especially for sending Jesus Christ. Participation In the Minor Eucharist is reserved for a happy few, to begin the 12 apostles out of 90 followers.  It fits an elite group of baptized Catholics to do something similar. In the Catholic Church people from other denominations are excluded from communion and also those church members who are known trespassers of certain church laws. The practice refers to a custom of early Christians, adopted from Mithras cult, to require a severe scrutiny before getting admission to secret mysterious ceremonies. The leader of a Mayer Eucharist  indiscriminately welcomes everybody  who wants to hear the message of Jesus. It refers to the practice of early Christians who shared whatever they had and who attracted especially the underprivileged. You can receive communion even if you are not baptized. Its communion is more like the meal on the slope of a hill where 5000 men shared their bread with Jesus and one other.

In Aparecida the forum might recommend might recommend……………….

 

6.       Prayer

Practice  of praying can be unrealistic, archaic and unchristian. God cannot manipulated. God is present everywhere, God cannot be made present for 200% on request

Asking God to let the sun shine during the night or to perform another miracle is unrealistic. In advance one knows that the natural flow of events is unchangeable

 

Offering a sheep or some money to get Gods attention or love is archaic. God is love before you ask. God’s attention cannot be bought.

Jesus said: ”When you pray, do it in silence”. In his view any prayer aloud was like the one of priests and Pharisees.

In the traditional Mass we pray for the recovery of dying people, for the acceptance of our offerings and talk to God aloud as the ancient priests did.

 

 

7.       Justice all along

An anonymous bishop said aloud:  I ask God to ignite his light in me so that I have the courage to apply the gospel consequently at all occasions occurring, especially in favor of the poor.

All who agreed, sang. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen

A Mexican woman said: I pray God for  the spirit that will let me find the proper words to achieve the right for women to decide about their own body as a utmost personal responsibility.

All sang enforcing her prayer: Amen, Amen………

In a dream we may see at the opening of  forum 2018 200 people singing time and again Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen like a gospel choir after endless personal appeals for Gods power to work within each of the participants., Amen…..

An Evangelical, an atheist etc. etc. Then we start dialogues on all the issues that have been touched. To elaborate in chapters like         Social justice,  Migrants and refugees, Women Men parity, Human rights and Other cultures, religions, spiritualties. After the forum we repeat the chain of prayers; distribution of broken bread.

Aparecida should recommend that all liturgy is transformed into interactive meetings and start in 2017 with………..

 

Ed Schreurs

 

May 2017