Note: The posts have been very difficult to post because the internet service where I am staying is, as my U.K. friend Miriam says, “dodgy.”
Day 2 in Rome
The Controversy continues and Pre-Synod conferencesThe beat goes on as cardinals here clash over the issues that will be discussed at the Synod. Although it is rumored that Cardinal Raymond L. Burke is soon to be removed from his position as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, he is blasting away at the likes of Cardinal Kasper, and by extension, Pope Francis. Burke, painted as a hero of orthodoxy in the chaotic world created by the Francis revolution, is calling for an end of the discussion on remarriage and divorce before it begins. “The matter really has to be clarified at this point so that this doesn’t continue,” Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, told Catholic News Service Oct. 1. “For this to go on for another year, it can only do harm.”Other efforts to profile opposition to Kasper’s position are ongoing. Fr. Robert Dodaro, editor of “Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church,” said at a press conference that adhering to Christ’s Gospel teachings on divorce is not harsh and mean-spirited, but rather a form of tough love aimed at the salvation of souls.
Today, more than 15 participants representing reform organizations from Australia, Ireland, the Philippines, and the United States participated in a colloquium organized by Catholic Church Reform International, part of a two-day forum on the family. The participants like Sr. Mary John Manazan, a life long advocate for women’s rights, shared their work for reform and their hopes for the Synod followed by a Q & A session involving audience members. Several members of Catholic Organizations for Renewal were present. Janet Hauter of American Catholic Council helped organize the forum and also helped moderate today’s event. Kate McElwee of Women’s Ordination Conference shared information about the “Voices of the People” survey conducted by 15 U.S. reform organizations in November and December 2013 in preparation for this Synod.
A member of the audience Suzanne Andrea Birke, a lay leader in the Swiss Catholic Church and part of the lay Pfarrei Initiative Schweiz that FutureChurch met in Bregenz a year ago during the meeting of priests’ association leaders and lay reform leaders called by Fr. Helmut Schueller spoke about their ongoing work to make visible their ministry in the Church. According to Suzanne, the Swiss Church has been innovative in light of the priest shortage. Layy leadership carries out many duties that have normally been assigned to those who are ordained. They preach and baptize and carry out a great number of ministries. They are currently negotiating with their bishops asking that 10 practices be recognized officially since they are normative in churches there. As such they align with Fr. Helmet Schueller’s Austrian Priest Initiative in their acts of disobedience;
The following are current practices by which we stand:
Another pre-Synod conference called “The Ways of Love” was organized by the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups including Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Frank DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry. Bishop Geoffrey Robinson of Australia was invited to speak about human sexuality and the need to update current Church teaching. Next week the group will conduct another exciting event featuring leaders such as Frank Mugisha, a prominent young advocate for the rights of sexual minorities in Uganda.