by Sigrid Grabmeier, Chair of We Are Church Intl.
This statement, according to Vatican Radio on 13 December 2016, comes from the Pope's speech at the Eucharistic celebration of the same day, a few days after the publication of the new guidelines for the education of priests "The gift of vocation" by the Congregation of the Clergy, signed by Francis himself . - His concern that the "shepherds" should be closer to the people, not think of themselves as something better and not to rise above the "sinners and prostitutes" is not new. But in the new guidelines, I find this concern only very poorly implemented, if not even counter-productive.
The celibate priesthood continues to be exaggerated, even the clear rejection of homosexual priesthood candidates or even of women in priestly ministry. Behind them, there is still an official understanding, a picture of priesthood and a doctrine that in a certain way cause clericalism: the theology of sacrifice and the idea that the priest simultaneously acts as the representative of Christ and the Church, always challenged "to configure oneself to Christ by exercising pastoral ministry. ".- The" configuration to Christ ", an expression often found in the document, is a requirement which nearly invites to clericalism. For even if it is repeatedly asserted how important it is for the young men to exercise themselves in humility, chastity, modesty, and obedience, they are to be formed quite differently from all others. Many passages give me the impression of guidelines for the manipulation of boys and young men who are indoctrinated as early as possible on what is so particular about their vocation.
There are certainly also positive aspects in the document, e.g. protection of minors, which will be a topic in priest education in the future. Above all, however, there is a great deal of fear of the loss of meaning of the clergy, a nimbus which is bound to a clericalization by means of a spiritualization which is already tending to kitsch and pious elegies. Actually exactly the opposite of what Francis wants to achieve. - But maybe that is the plan: what you can not prevent, you have to run against the wall or into the empty space. - We should not wait for that. "We are Church" and that is to say, search for ways, ways to go from a survived hierarchical to a viable cooperative church.
[ German ]
We Are Church has won the Integration Award 2017, from the Aprelbaum Foundation - together with Prof. Günter Hegele of the professional Evangelical academics in Germany.
Founded in 1989, the charitable Apfelbaum Foundation promotes long-term and applied initiatives for community growth and development.
The citation reads:
"The Foundation gives you the Integration Award 2017
- for your persistent development and perseverance of the internationally networked Movement We Are Church and
- for your empathic and creative proposals for reforms in your own Catholic Church, but also for your 'yes' to the Reformation 500 years ago and to a reconciled Diversity of Christians in an ecumenical spirit. "
We are Church, in receiving this prize, sees itself in very good company. Hans Küng and OikoCredit were first prize winners in 1996. Other laureates and winners include: Eugen Drewermann, Alice Schwarzer, Rupert Neudeck, Monika Hauser, Richard Schröder, Karl-Josef Kuschel, Tilman Zülch and Lamya Kaddor.
Recipient organisations include, among others, Amnesty International, the Reconciliation Service for Peace, the Terre des Femmes, the MSF, the OSCE, the Nes Ammim in Israel.
We have received regular support from the Apfelbaum Foundation from their priority fund "convergence of religions", and this has been an incentive for us over many years. Now, at the beginning of this Anniversary Year of The Reformation, The Integration Award 2017 will spur us on to continue our work for a more integrated world.
We Are Church Germany
Genau vier Jahre sind es her, dass Papst Benedikt an einem Rosenmontag seinen freiwilligen Amtsverzicht angekündigt und damit das Papstamt von falschen Ansprüchen befreit hat. Die Wahl von Papst Franziskus vom „anderen Ende der Welt“ hat es dann ermöglicht, dass dieser den synodalen Kurs des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils endlich auch in Rom umsetzen kann, den Joseph Ratzinger zunächst als Glaubenspräfekt und dann als Papst 31 Jahre lang so vehement bekämpft hat.
Dass dieser Kurswechsel Widerstände erzeugen würde, war vorauszusehen und ist wohl unvermeidlich. Denn schließlich sind viele Kardinäle, Ortsbischöfe sowie Mitarbeiter der römischen Kurie noch in der Zeit und nach den Vorgaben der beiden Vorgängerpäpste ausgewählt und ernannt worden. Aber Papst Franziskus hat aus seiner Zeit in Argentinien Erfahrung im Umgang mit Widerständen. In der Santa-Marta-Morgenmesse am 1. Dezember und beim Weihnachtsempfang 2016 für die römische Kurie spricht er die verschiedenen Formen des Widerstandes an: Den offenen Widerstand aus gutem Willen, der durchaus von Gott kommen kann; den verborgenen Widerstand der leeren Worte von denen, die sich zwar zur Veränderung bereit erklären, aber alles beim Alten belassen; und schließlich den böswilligen Widerstand als wohl gefährlichste Form, der sich hinter rechtfertigenden Worten versteckt und Zuflucht in Traditionen sucht.
Zu diesem böswilligen Widerstand ist sicher die „Anfrage“ der vier ultra-konservativen emeritierten Kardinäle zum nachsynodalen Schreiben Amoris laetitia zu rechnen, auch wenn Papst Franziskus dies nicht konkret anspricht. Mit Walter Brandmüller und Joachim Meisner sind auch zwei deutsche Kardinäle dabei, die sich Papst Franziskus direkt in den Weg stellen. Und so kann ich mir nicht vorstellen, dass dieser Widerstand ohne Wissen des ehemaligen Papstes und den von ihm noch kurz vor seinem Rücktritt zum Präfekt der Glaubenskongregation ernannten Kardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller geschehen ist.
Dass diese Opposition, die es in dieser Art seit der Gegenreformation nicht mehr gegeben hat, überhaupt entstehen konnte, ist auch dem verborgenen Widerstand der leeren Worte oder gar Schweigen vieler Bischofskonferenzen – auch der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz! – anzulasten. Denn sie haben noch immer nicht die positiven Spielräume des nachsynodalen Schreibens Amoris laetitia ausgefüllt und weiterentwickelt. Für die Bischöfe, aber auch für die wissenschaftliche Theologie ist es jetzt allerhöchste Zeit, sich eindeutig zum Reformkurs von Papst Franziskus zu bekennen, der ganz auf der Linie des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils liegt.
Wir sind Kirche Deutschland
by Tony Flannery C.Ss.R
This January marks a significant milestone in my life; the eighteenth of the month is my seventieth birthday. I have wondered how best to mark it. I am not by nature a ‘party person’, so that option did not greatly appeal to me. Having spent forty years of my life ministering as a priest, I am now into my fifth year when I am forbidden by Church authorities to minister publicly. I have decided to honour my age, and my lifetime, by ignoring the Church censures, and celebrating a public Mass. Since I would not be allowed to do so either in a Catholic church or other Catholic controlled building, I have chosen, with the kind permission of the committee, to celebrate it in the local community hall in the village where I now live, which means that the Mass will take place in Killimordaly Community Centre on Sunday, January 22nd, at 2.30pm.
Why am I doing this? I don’t think that I am doing it just for the sake of defying Church authorities. Neither do I want it to be the beginning of an unofficial ministry on my part. I have no wish to start a new ecclesial movement. My reasons are as follows:
1. For the last five years I have been in something of a ‘limbo’ state, neither fully in or fully out of the priesthood. I have known from an early stage that there was no possibility of a resolution of the dispute between myself and the Vatican. So this public Mass will be for me a way of acknowledging the forty years of my life, and the work I did as a priest—a way of acknowledging who I am.
2. Since my dispute with the Vatican went public I have received enormous support from people all over the country, and indeed internationally. Eucharist is essentially a thanksgiving and In this Mass I am giving thanks for the good will of many people.
3. Since the beginning of my difference with the CDF, I have consistently held to one fundamental point. I don’t have any problem with the Church exercising authority. Every institution needs an authority structure. But authority must be exercised in a way that is just, and that respects the dignity of the person. In my experience, and in the experience of many others whom I have come to know in these past years, Church authority is exercised in a way that is unjust and abusive. For that reason I hope that my action will highlight once again the urgent need for change in the way the Vatican deals with people who express opinions that are considered to be at odds with official Church teaching.
4. In celebrating this public Mass I am also saying something else that I regard as important. The Mass, the Eucharist, is not in the ownership of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or indeed of the Vatican. It belongs to the believing communities. That was where it began in the early Church, and where it finds its true meaning. My hope is, in this time of great change and upheaval in Church and society, that the believing communities begin, by whatever means possible, to regain ownership of the Eucharist. My late Redemptorist confrere, and distinguished theologian, Bernard Haring, put it this way: “The people of God have a God-given right to the Eucharist. On the basis of human law, to deprive the people of God of the Eucharist is objectively gravely sinful”
I am somewhat apprehensive about presiding at a public mass after almost 5 years in the wilderness, but to quote Macbeth, “to go back is as tedious as to go on” and I now feel the urge to take a positive step.
For those who may wish to come to this event from various parts of the country, this is how you will find Killimordaly Community Centre:
Leave the M6 at exit 16, and take the road to KILTULLAGH.
Having reached the village of Kiltullagh – the church is clearly visible in front of you – follow the sign for Ballinasloe.
After about two hundred yards take a left off this road, and follow the signs for ATTYMON. After about a mile you will pass the hurling pitch on your right. A few hundred yards further on you will see the Community Centre, also on the right.
After the Mass refreshments will be available in the local pub, The Earl Inn, about a mile from the hall.
Somebody sent me the following, for directions on a Sat Nav or a phone. Don’t know if my copy and transfer of them will work.
Sat Nav coordinates
Smart phone directions Google Maps