Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Our Voices Are Growing"

Mary Beth Stein (pictured above, second from left) was one of approximately 50 church reform representatives who gathered in Rome in the days leading up to the Vatican's recent Synod of the Family. This gathering of church reform representatives was entitled the Forum on the Family and was organized by Catholic Church Reform International.

Upon her return to the Twin Cities and her work with both the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform and the Council of the Baptized, Mary Beth shared her thoughts on the Forum on the Family with The Progressive Catholic.

Gathered together at the Forum on the Family were people from all around the world. We all came with different levels and forms of involvement in Church reform. Some represented reform groups, both large and small, with varying histories of action and organization. Others were individuals who care deeply about the direction that our Church is taking in its teaching and ministry to families of all kinds. One young man is a PhD student working on his dissertation about reform groups within the Catholic Church.

All of us came together in hope for our Church. We expressed hopes for the Synod – hope that the bishops will hear our voices and honor our lived experiences as we live out our faith from within our families and in the world. But whether or not the bishops choose to hear us, we all came away from the Forum on the Family knowing that our experiences and concerns are echoed around the world. We are not alone. People across the continents are daring to stand up as Catholics empowered by our baptism to speak out for our faith. We came away from the forum with new worldwide connections, united in our love for the Church and concern for its ministry, and knowing that the Spirit is uniting us and calling us to speak the truth as we know it.

My greatest blessings in attending this forum came from meeting and joining with people from around the world and standing in solidarity with them as we all work to bring about a Church more faithful to the compassion of the Gospel. We are united and our voices are growing.

Related Off-site Link:
Catholic Church Reform's Alternate Gathering on the Family Highlights Lay Vocation – Joan Chittister (National Catholic Reporter, October 2, 2014).

See also the previous PCV post:
Let Our Voices Be Heard!

Monday, October 20, 2014

In the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Renewed Calls for Archbishop Nienstedt's Ouster

The following media release has been issued by the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform.

Last week’s editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune said, “. . . the archdiocese needs a true reformer to lead it forward. Nienstedt lacks the credibility, both internally and externally, to overcome skepticism that little will change, and his resignation is a necessary next step for an archdiocese in need of healing.” Jennifer Haselberger, the archdiocese's former chancellor for canonical affairs, was quoted last week by WCCO saying the same and calling for the top leadership of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to be removed as well.

These statements echo the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform’s (CCCR) plea for new leadership in the Archdiocese. Once again, CCCR has issued a statement calling for the resignation or removal of Archbishop John Nienstedt. It says:

In response to Archbishop John Nienstedt’s refusal to resign, the CCCR Board reiterates its vote of no confidence as originally stated in our letter of October 24, 2013. We join with SNAP and others in calling for the removal of the archbishop. We remain convinced that the Archbishop is unable to lead our local Church as he can neither unite nor bring healing to our church community. Further, as demonstrated by the many calls for his resignation from Catholics throughout the archdiocese and beyond, John Nienstedt lacks the confidence of the people.

The archbishop’s statement of July 30, 2014, in which he refuses to resign, highlights the gulf between his view of leadership and the type of leadership we need. Although he likens himself to a father, his authoritarian approach to church leadership alienates many and continues to demoralize our local church community. Rather than an authoritarian figure focused on defending his actions and correcting our “errors,” we look for a humble leader who welcomes diversity and fosters unity. Only this will heal the pain of betrayal and alienation caused by Archbishop Nienstedt’s misplaced priorities and mishandling of the ongoing clergy sex abuse crisis.

We take this stance because as lay Catholics we envision a Church that both unites and heals us as a community. Such a church encourages courageous and honest dialogue, creates opportunities for everyone’s full participation, and promotes justice and reconciliation. We seek a Church fully alive, locally and universally, that radiates Jesus’ core teaching of radical equality, unabashed inclusivity, and transforming love. Under the leadership of Archbishop Nienstedt, such a church is not possible. Therefore, we call for his resignation or removal to make way for new leadership that can work with all Catholics to foster this vision of church.

Members of the CCCR picketed the office of the archdiocese last winter carrying signs asking for the Archbishop’s ouster. “He refuses to resign, yet as more time passes, more secrets are revealed and more Catholics feel they have no voice about what’s happening. His resignation or removal is necessary to pave the way for a healthy future for this archdiocese.” said Bob Beutel, CCCR board member. He concluded, “The knife must be removed for the wounds to heal.”

Mary Sutherland of the CCCR Lay Network said, “It is with great sadness that I have watched the current crises in this Archdiocese unfold under the leadership of Archbishop Nienstedt. His actions have not fostered the healing that is so desperately needed and he has not led the people of this Archdiocese into the full meaning of church. His actions in this current climate have further betrayed and alienated the people he was appointed to lead. I can come to no other conclusion than new leadership is necessary for this Archdiocese.”

CCCR was formed in 2009 to help re-establish a healthy, sustainable Catholic church in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Following the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, CCCR seeks to activate Catholic lay people because they are critical to achieving that goal. To facilitate engagement in our local Church and develop a strong, unified voice for Catholic laity, the CCCR is building a Lay Network and encouraging a growing community of Catholics to take action and be heard on issues including evolutionary Christianity, gender inclusivity, transparency and accountability, bishop selection and lay involvement in church leadership.

See also the previous PCV posts:
Minneapolis Priest Says Archbishop Nienstedt Must Resign If Church is to Heal
To Heal Church, Nienstedt Must Resign
Archbishop Niestedt Needs to Go. Now
In the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, "Regime Change is Not Enough"
Healing Can’t Start Until the Knife is Removed from the Wound

Related Off-site Links:
Jennifer Haselberger Was Ignored, Bullied Before Blowing Whistle on Archdiocese, Records Show – Jesse Marx (City Pages, July 15, 2014).
Twin Cities Archdiocese Wanted to Label Marriage Equality-Supporting Priest ‘Disabled’ – Andy Birkey (TheColu.mn, July 22, 2014).
Betrayed by Silence: How Three Archbishops Hid the Truth – Madeleine Baran (Minnesota Public Radio News, July 14, 2014).
Has Archbishop Nienstedt's "Shadow" Finally Caught Up With Him? – Michael Bayly (The Wild Reed, July 1, 2014).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Save the Date!

Fall 2014 Conference

Where Love and Justice Meet
An Emerging Sexual Ethic for Our Time

Fr. John Heagle
Sr. Fran Ferder, FSPA

Saturday, October 18 , 2014
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church
511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis
Located where Hennepin & Lyndale Aves. merge at Groveland Ave., across the street from the Walker Art Center.
Parking lot is next to the church building.

Registration fee: $40 (includes breakfast snacks, lunch, and beverages).

Event scholarships are available. Contact Sharon at 651-457-3249.

The program begins at 9:45 a.m.
Call Art Stoeberl at 651-636-7356 
or email artstoeberl@yahoo.com
to tell us that you would like to attend.

Morning presentation:
Human Sexuality: Facing the Crisis,Reclaiming the Vision

Afternoon presentations:
Sexuality, Power and Biblical Justice
The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality

There will be time allowed for questions and dialogue.

Program includes a presentation of the CTA-MN 2014 Leadership Award and a short business meeting.

About this year's theme
The Catholic Church is facing a crucial turning point in its understanding of human sexuality. It is increasingly clear that the lived experience of ordinary people differs significantly from official church teaching. The ‘traditional’ Catholic ethic that most of us grew up with is grounded in medieval philosophy and natural law theory. This approach is no longer adequate to address the contemporary challenge of human relationships.

CTA-MN's 2014 Fall Conference introduces a more biblically-based understanding of the gift of sexuality and the responsibility of faithful loving. It explores the profound connection between relationships and biblical justice, sexuality and systems of power. In the gospel accounts, Jesus has little to say about the biology of sex, but he speaks decisively about the qualities of authentic loving: respect, responsibility, covenantal faithfulness, and mutuality. How would such a radical and demanding vision challenge and transform our lives and our community of faith?

We’ve been through a lot lately in this local Church. Stories about homosexuality and sexual abuse have grabbed headlines. In addition, many Catholics find themselves at odds with teachings related to sexuality and gender, yet they want to honor what is life-giving and supportive within the Catholic tradition. This is why we believe that John Heagle and Fran Ferder FSPA are exactly the right people, coming at exactly the right time to help us reflect upon “an emerging sexual ethic for our time.”

Fr. John Heagle
Ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 1965, John has had more than 37 years of pastoral experience: college teaching, campus ministry, justice and peace leadership, and almost ten years as a pastor. He holds an M.A. in philosophy from Catholic University of America and a licentiate in canon law from Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. For the past seventeen years John has also served as a licensed psychotherapist, retreat director. He is the author of seven books on spirituality and human relationships.

Sister Fran Ferder, FSPA
A native of Salem, Oregon, and a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Fran has had more than 30 years of ministerial and professional experience as a college professor, director of student counseling, psychotherapist, psychological consultant for various religious communities and dioceses, and a research director for a major social ministry study. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Loyola University, Chicago, and a doctorate in ministry from Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis. She is the author of Words Made Flesh and Enter the Story: Biblical Metaphors for our Lives.

Both Fran and John serve as adjunct faculty in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. They are internationally recognized leaders of workshops and conferences, authors of several articles, tapes, and books on spirituality, ministry, and human relationships, including Your Sexual Self: Pathway to Authentic Intimacy and Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality.