CATHOLIC COALTION FOR CHURCH REFORM
JOINT WORK/STUDY GROUP MEETING
JANUARY 13, 2010
On the evening of January 13, fifty-five work/study group members gathered for a soup supper at Carondelet Center.
The Catholic Spirituality work/study group, Ed Walsh, facilitator, led us in prayer and reflection. Brigid McDonald led the singing, Mary Ellen Kennedy and Sharon Masloski read, and Pat Walsh led the group in a centering meditation.
Dick Rice inspired us with a Twelve Step approach to Church reform. He began with a modification of the familiar Step One:We admit we are powerless over the institutional Church, that our lives have become unmanageable. All the way to Step Eleven: We seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out. And Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Dick helped us to realize that the Church is like a dysfunctional family, that dysfunction is the human condition, and that unless we come to grips with that fact we will not be of use. The gist of the message is in this quotation from Joseph Campbell’s Myths to Live By, p. 106
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. The obvious lesson…is that the first step to the knowledge of the highest divine symbol of the wonder and mystery of life is in the recognition of the monstrous nature of life and its glory in that character: the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think—and their name is legion—that they know how the universe could have been better than it is, how it would have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without life, are unfit for illumination. Or those who think—as do many—“Let me first correct society, then get around to myself,. are barred from even the outer gate of the mansion of God’s peace. All societies are evil, sorrowful, inequitable; and so they will always be. So if you really want to help the world, what you will have to teach is how to live in it. And that no one can do who has not himself learned how to live in it in the joyful sorrow and sorrowful joy of the knowledge of life as it is.
Since we are all committed to change, we had a lively discussion sorting out the nuances of this message. Balancing the impulses to action with the acceptance of the way things are is an ongoing task for us.
We spent the rest of the evening explaining the schedule and framework of Synod of the Baptized 2010. Bernie and Eileen Rodel, program chairs, led the question and answer session on the Synod plans that followed.
WE ARE THE CHURCH
Vatican II taught that all the baptized, ordained and lay, are responsible for the church.
WHAT IS OUR MISSION?
It is Jesus’ own mission:
to build communities that show the world what the Kingdom of God looks like.
WHAT KIND OF COMMUNITY DO WE NEED TO SERVE THE MISSION?
It is a community of equals, inclusive of difference, participative, dialogic, prophetic.
It is a community that radiates God’s love for creation and humanity.
WHAT PRACTICES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVE THE MISSION?
WHAT PRACTICES DO NOT SERVE THE MISSION?
WHAT CHANGES DO WE WANT TO WORK FOR?
It is the task of the Work/Study groups to discern these answers.
Our consciences, energized by spiritual practice, will enable us to hear the Spirit’s voice.
We will present our work at the Synod, September 18, 2010.
A POST-SYNOD ACTION TEAM WILL COMMUNICATE OUR WORK WITHIN THE LOCAL CHURCH.
We have a group designing this Post-Synod Action Team prior to the Synod and people will sign up to work on it in Synod break-out sessions. We will report on this at the next joint session.