Baroness Helena Kennedy QC is calling for major changes in the Catholic Church and says the current crises are in large part the result of church power being invested in one gender, which is wholly unacceptable in the 21st century.
Lady Kennedy joined forces with Lord Hylton and feminist and spiritual writer Professor Ursula King at the Houses of Parliament (Tuesday March 5) to sign the Catholic Scholars’ Declaration on Authority in the Catholic Church.
The Declaration, calling for a more collegial system of church governance in the church, has already gained the backing of 180 leading theologians and Catholic Scholars worldwide. It has already been submitted to more than 20 cardinal electors in Rome this week.
Professor King signed the Declaration on behalf of women in the church, Lord Hylton signed on behalf of the underprivileged and marginalised, and Lady Kennedy added her signature for all men and women suffering from misguided church rulings on sexual ethics including contraception, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage.
Paul Collins, historian, author, former Catholic Priest and ABC Broadcaster, talks about the Catholic Church, the Papacy, his relationship with the church and his latest book The Birth of the West.
This is an interview published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
How do you see the situation of the Church?
The Church is tired, in prosperous Europe and in America. Our culture is out of date; our Churches are big; our religious houses are empty, and the Church’s bureaucratic apparatus is growing, and our rites and our vestments are pompous. Do such things really express what we are today? ... Prosperity weighs us down. We find ourselves like the rich young man who went away sad when Jesus called him to become his disciple. I know that it’s not easy to leave everything behind. At least could we seek people who are free and closer to their neighbors, as Bishop Romero was and the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador? Where among us are heroes to inspire us? We must never limit them by institutional bonds.
With the appointment by Pope Benedict XVI of the Bishop of Regensburg, Professor Dr Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, as Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, he is taking up this office in an extremely difficult phase of Church history, in which the reception and implementation of the Second Vatican Council, which opened just fifty years ago, is at stake. It will soon become clear whether with Professor Mueller the window of the Second Vatican Council will again be opened wider, so as be effective as Church in the world – or whether the very last shutters of the window will be closed so that the Church shuts itself off from the world.