We Are Church International

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A People not a Pyramid
  Christianity: Leadership in a Society of Equals
Part I
One of the most significant shifts in theological thinking resulting from the Second Vatican Council was the movement away from the stratified, hierarchical model of Church to a reclaimed ecclesiology of the People of God. It had a decisive influence in the way that Catholic women and men conceived of the way they related to one another first and foremost as sisters and brothers in a community of equals and not as members of a highly structured organisation in which everyone ‘knows their place’. The Council also invited the Catholics to embrace their calling to evangelise the modern world from within and to conduct themselves as honest citizens of the human community in a spirit of decency,  confidence and hopefulness. (Gaudium et Spes, # 1)

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A People not a Pyramid
Christianity: Leadership in a Society of Equals
Part II

A Ghetto Church and the problem of nostalgia

 One of the last defenders of the immutability of the Church’s doctrine was Pius X the next to last of the militant anti-modernists. In his 1907 Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis the Pope condemned Modernism as a pernicious internal threat to the Church’s orthodoxy and orthopraxis. He charged that the Modernists erroneously taught that “ecclesiastical government requires reformation in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic parts  …  a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity, and authority be decentralized. The Roman Congregations, especially the Congregations of the Index and the Holy Office, are to be reformed.”  Modernism in the mind of Pius X was “the synthesis of all heresies.”

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A People not a Pyramid

Christianity: Leadership in a Society of Equals. Part III.  

Tipping points

“The agenda for the promised 2020 synod of the Australian Church cannot be determined and managed only by those who cling to what they regard as the non-negotiable aspects of Church hierarchy and governance, when those aspects are shown to have contributed to past failures in transparency and accountability. Those failures then compounded rates of child abuse which were shocking, tragic and indefensible. The Royal Commission has less than a year to run. Once it reports, the Australian Church will need to change radically, or become a despised, diminishing sect.” – Frank  Brennan SJ (16/02/2017) 1

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A People not a Pyramid

Christianity: Leadership in a Society of Equals. Part IV.

A NEW PARADIGM
….we have to make big decisions about the future … It has to be an assembly of the whole Church and not just the bishops. (++Mark Coleridge)

Archbishop Mark Coleridge has raised a number of matters he sees as essential for a responsible and transparently open process in preparation for the 2020 Plenary Council:

The need for the Catholic Church in Australia to retrieve its ‘missionary’ spirit, to let go of a introspective defensiveness. Coleridge has called for a break in the tradition about the apostolate of the laity: ‘The hierarchy needs to distance themselves from Pope Pius XI’s teaching in 1927 that the Catholic Action was “the participation of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy.” This presumes an ecclesiology of strict episcopal command, control and micromanagement. It is in tension with the ecclesiology of Vatican II which taught the ecclesiology of the People of God and the structures of shared governance, accountability and subsidiarity which are implied in that ancient model.’ Archbishop Coleridge also believes that “…we have to ask questions about ordained ministry,’ the relationship between new ecclesial movements and the older established communities; the viability of the traditional parish and what might need to be done to sustain the sacramental life of the local churches.