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Francis must now accelerate his ongoing reform and development of the Synod of Bishops so that, by law, it becomes the primary structure to assist the Bishop of Rome in his ministry of universal governance. The monarchical model on which it is currently based is not only an anachronism at this stage of history. More crucially, it is an overly centralized model that is inadequate for governing a 1.2 billion-member worldwide church.

Read Robert Mickens' article in NCR

Fr. Hans Kung says Francis responded to request for free discussion on infallibility dogma

Radio Vatican report:

Nach Aussage von Hans Küng selbst hat Papst Franziskus auf sein Schreiben geantwortet, mit dem der Tübinger Theologe eine freie Diskussion über das päpstliche Unfehlbarkeitsdogma gefordert hatte. Wie der Onlinenachrichtendienst National Catholic Reporter (NCR) berichtet, habe Papst Franziskus ihm über die Berliner Nuntiatur einen Brief zukommen lassen, in dem die Anrede „Lieber Mitbruder“ handschriftlich verfasst sei und in dem er sich offen für eine Diskussion zum erst seit 1870 geltenden Unfehlbarkeitsanspruch ex cathedra zeige.

Den Brief selbst wolle Küng aus Gründen der Vertraulichkeit nicht herzeigen, doch er sei begeistert über die Öffnung, die Papst Franziskus bereits mit der Veröffentlichung seiner apostolischen Exhortation Amoris Laetitia und nun auch mit der Antwort auf seinen Aufruf zur Diskussion gezeigt habe. „Das ist der neue Geist, den ich mir stets vom Magisterium erwartet habe“, zitiert NCR Küng. „Diesen neuen Freiraum, so meine Folgerung, gilt es zu nutzen, um die Klärung der in der katholischen Kirche und Ökumene umstrittenen dogmatischen Festlegung voranzutreiben“, betont Küng. Dem Papst gelte für diese neue Denkfreiheit „mein tief empfundener Dank“, berichtet auch die Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur (KNA) unter Berufung auf den Theologen.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Tuesday that the clergy should serve lay people and not make use of them and spoke out against clericalism, calling it one of the greatest distortions affecting the Church in Latin America. His comments came in a wide-ranging letter reflecting on the role of the laity that was addressed to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.  The Pope’s letter was a follow-up to the commission’s recent Plenary Assembly whose theme was “the indispensable role of the lay faithful in the public life of Latin American countries.” In his letter, Pope Francis explained that he wished to follow-up the discussions and reflections that emerged during the Plenary Assembly in order to prevent them "from not bearing fruit." 

He urged the clergy to look closely at the people and lives of the lay faithful and avoid falling into the trap of adopting certain slogans on their behalf that seem well-meaning but in practice don't succeed in supporting the lives of our communities. Pointing to the example of a famous phrase “it’s time for the laity,” he noted that in this particular case, that clock has ground to a halt.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’s highly-anticipated post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love) on love in the family will be released on Friday 8th April. The Vatican said the Exhortation will be presented to journalists at the Holy See’s Press Office on Friday 8th April at 11.30. 

The text of the Apostolic Exhortation in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and  Portuguese (in paper and/or digital format) will be available to accredited journalists from 8.00 a.m. (Rome time) on Friday 8th April. However, the document will remain under embargo until 12 noon that day. 

The panel of speakers at the press conference will include: Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P., archbishop of Vienna, and an Italian married couple: Professor Francesco Miano, lecturer in moral philosophy at Rome’s University of Tor Vergata, and his wife, Professor Giuseppina De Simone in Miano, lecturer in philosophy at the Theological Faculty of Southern Italy in Naples.

A simultaneous translation service will be available in Italian, English and Spanish. The Press Conference can be seen via live streaming (audio-video) on the site: http://player.rv.va (Vatican Player, Vatican Radio) where it will subsequently remain available on demand. 

Lund CathedralGENEVA/VATICAN CITY, 25 January 2016 - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Catholic Church will hold a joint ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation on 31 October 2016 in Lund, Sweden.

Pope Francis, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan and General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge will lead the Ecumenical Commemoration in cooperation with the Church of Sweden and the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm.

The joint ecumenical event will take place in the city of Lund in anticipation of the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017. It will highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts received through dialogue. The event will include a common worship based on the recently published Catholic-Lutheran “Common Prayer” liturgical guide.

“The LWF is approaching the Reformation anniversary in a spirit of ecumenical accountability,” says LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge. “I’m carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we are working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn apart by conflict and violence.”

Agenda for the gathering of delegates in Rome

20-22 November 2015

Friday 20th of November 2015 

14:00 Opening of the registration arrival of delegates, installation of the fair,

18:00 Official openning of the fair and welcome party

19:30 dinner at at Casa Lasalle

20:45 -22:00 Aula Magna :

Welcome and introduction of delegates, presentation of the program, of the workshops and of the process to finalise the Charter:

Saturday 21st of November 2015

8: 00 to 9:00 visit of the fair contribution to the Charter, inscription to workshops

9:00 to 10:30 Plenary Session I Aula Magna

- Opening

- Prayer :Enrico Peyretti

- Perspectives open by Pope Francis for the evolution of the Catholic Church and reforms to meet the challenges of our evolving 21st century world : Dr Nontando Hadebe (woman theologian from Zimbabwe and South Africa)

- Discussion

10:30- 11:00 Coffe Break, visit of the fair and inscription for the workshops

11:00 to 12:45 Pleanry Session II  in Aula Magna

Issues, experiences, expectations and proposals for the renewal of our Church and its implication in the world of to-day, from the different continents:

- Africa: Douglas Irvine (WAACSA, South Africa), Georges Obolo, (Gabon), President of the coordination of the African Network of Former Catholic Youth Students (RAJA)

- Latin America : Socorro Martinez Maqueo, (Mexico), Articulacion Continental de Comunidades eclesiales de base

- North America: Jamie Manson (USA), columnist and books editor for the National Catholic Reporter,(to be confirmed)

- Asia : Paul Hwang, (South Korea), Center for Asia Peace and solidarity under Woori Theology Institute, and Felicia Dian Revenska Parera (Indonesia), Pax Romana IMCS

- Europe : Alice Gombault (France), theologian, former professor at Institut catholique de Paris,(to be confirmed)

- Discussion

13h00 Lunch

14:00-14:30 visit of the fair contribution to the Charter

14:30 to 16:00  Workshops: 4 worhshops in parallel, (see details in attached sheet)

series I  : Challenges of the world to be met by a Church inspired by the Gospel:

- I.1 Peace and war, non-violent solutions of conflicts Church and Christian actions for peace

- I.2 Social and economic justice, respect of Human Rights, migration, trafficking/ Commitment of Christians and Church, Church of the Poor

- I.3 Environment, sustainability/Commitment of Christians and Church, Encyclical “Laudato Si”

- I.4  Societal issues, family (synod results), person sexuality, gender, LGBT, impact of cultures and religions,

16:00 -16:30 Coffe Break and visit of the fair

16:30- 18:00 Workshops: 4 worhshops in parallel, (see details in attached sheet)

series II : A church inspired by  the Gospel for elightening the world

- II.1 Organization of the Church, reform of ministries and inclusion of women in coherence with Women / Men equality for responsibilities, communities, functioning;

- II.2 Base Ecclesial Communities, Grass-Root communities, their experiences, their actions, their relationships with the institution.

- II.3 Inter and Intra religious dialogues, interconvictional dialogues, horizontal and vertical transcendences, universality of spirituality, cultures, beliefs and religions.

- II.4 The pact of Catacombs and renewal of our Church, outputs of the Colloquium on the revival of the pact of catacombs

18:15-19:30 CasaLaSalle Church: celebration and liturgy

San Romero Mass

19:30 Dinner

20:45-22:00 Open meeting of reporters, moderatores of workshops: preparation of the report of workshops and finalisation of Charter

 Free time for discussion, visit of the fair

Sunday 22nd  of November

9: 00 -10:30    Plenary Session III  in Aula Magna:

- Overview of the work of the  workshops

- Proclamation of the Charter

- Follow-up of the gathering

- Final prayer and Farewell:

10:30-11:15  Move to St Peter Square

11:15-12:30   Meeting at St Peter Square

14h30-16h30  Final optional meeting at Casa LaSalle

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