Thursday, 28 January 2010

Asides on "Stand up .."

This week's Tablet (ie the issue of 30th January - editorial here) carries a report of the Stand Up for Vatican II inaugural meeting. It reports an attendance of over 200 people, though some present, according to the report, expressed concern that the majority of those present were aged over 60.

I found an interesting juxtaposition between the calls for smaller parishes (extra priests to be provided by lifting the obligation of celibacy), elected diocesan pastoral councils (only 5 dioceses currently have these, my own of Brentwood being one, though I have never been aware of any mechanism that has extended a franchise to me in terms of electing its members - but, to be fair, as someone said to me once "Oh, you don't do [parish] AGM's, do you?", though I have occasionally been known to do the party afterwards; and whether or not they really give bishops a way of knowing what the ordinary parishioner in the pew is thinking is rather a moot point), peaceful protest against the curia, another lay pastoral congress (I suspect that, should such an event take place again, the participation of the new movements will alter its character completely, and not in the way intended by Stand up ...) etc ... and a report being carried by ZENIT today.

This latter presents the contribution of Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to a seminar in Rome organized by the Emanuel Community and the Pierre Goursat University Institute, in collaboration with the Pontifical Institute "Redemptor Hominis.": Cardinal offers new style for Priest-Lay Teamwork.  In part, this contribution discusses the type of collaboration that exists between priests and lay people in the new movements, suggesting that this can be a model for that collaboration in parishes.
Priests must guard against "paternalistic and authoritarian attitudes in the governance of parish communities," he said, and they should take care to respect the true lay vocation, never using it as an excuse to get out of "their own pastoral duties toward the Christian community."

Oddly enough, the experience of the movements suggests that, where there is a firm unity of laity and religious or clergy in living a particular charism in faithfulness to the Church, then precisely that "familiarity" of lay-priest relations advocated by the "liberal tendency" who do not major on ecclesial faithfulness, becomes a living reality.

As a postscript: The Tablet report of the Stand up ... meeting gives an impression of the agendas that are being pursued: end to clerical celibacy (when the new movements bear witness to a renewal of the evangelical counsels, but the willingness to ordain married former-Anglican clergy is a frustrating-for-some counter witness to celibacy); more lay responsibility for internal diocesan and parish structures; ordination of women; concern at "losing the whole impetus of the vision of the Vatican council and that it might even drift into oblivion" (though it is not made explicit in the Tablet's report to what "impetus of the vision" refers).

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