06 November 2009

Go On Your Own Way

The Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis is currently in the midst of a strategic planning process which includes holding open discussions to receive feedback from parishoners and/or other organizations. One such group calls themselves the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. Visit their website if you dare but don't say you weren't warned. Members of this group wrote to the Archdiocesan Director of Parish Services and Planning with the following suggestions,

We request an Archdiocesan-wide discussion of all the relevant questions people want to ask. The meaning questions we would like to address are the following:

• Why do young adults abandon faith formation classes immediately after Confirmation? Why are such a large percentage of children offered no faith formation at all or, if the offer is made, why are they not accepting it?

• Why don’t two-thirds of registered Catholics go to Mass?

• Why are good and capable men not stepping up for ordination as priests?

• Why is celibacy required for the role of priest?

• Why aren’t women’s vocations to the ordained priesthood recognized and accepted?

• Why are third and fourth generation American Catholics leaving the church in great numbers?

• How is the money collected by the Archdiocese spent?

We want the Archbishop to be accountable for his expenditures as the parishes are accountable for theirs.The Task Force’s response when these questions are raised is that they are outside the scope of its mandate. Of course, they are, and that is the problem. We do not think that response will suffice.

If the Task Force requests the power from the Archbishop to facilitate such a discussion with the people of the Archdiocese and is denied that power, we suggest that as a matter of conscience you consider resigning en masse unless and until a full communication process is approved.

Though we are not experts, we have many ideas about how this process could be organized and will be happy to discuss them with you. There are many professional discussion facilitators in the Archdiocese who would, we are sure, be available to help. Some of the crucial elements are that all subjects be allowed to be discussed, no threats of job loss or excommunication will follow open discussion, and that representatives from all the people, not just those chosen by leadership, be involved in planning the discussion.

We think this is the only way to legitimate the process.

And the response from James Lundholm-Eades is, to quote a MasterCard commercial, "Priceless."
I read with particular interest your list of questions. Some of them are clearly outside the scope of this planning process. Some others call into question the framework of the Catholic faith that are simply part of our Catholic belief and tradition as delineated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You and your membership will know from your attendance at the meetings where you added your voice to the consultative process that the outcomes of the planning process will be consistent with the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church.

Finally, if your questions are a reflection of ongoing and serious concerns you have about the beliefs and traditions of our Catholic Church to the degree I sense they are, then it may be that your journey to God may well be served by exploring protestant denominations where your views will find broader acceptance. I prayerfully wish you well in your journey wherever it leads you.

Thanks again for your input to the planning process.

1 comment:

Dick West said...

They should have dispensed with their feeble socratic approach and simply issued a list of statements (theses?), all of which would begin with "I personally believe...," with an emphasis on the "I"


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