Skip to comments.‘Explosion’ of lay ministry following Vatican II has reshaped church
Posted on 12/13/2004 10:19:33 AM PST by Land of the Irish
By Stephen Kent
Father Thomas P. Rausch, with Archbishop Alex J. Brunett and Mary Cross, who directs the Office of Catholic Faith Formation, at Advent Ministry Day at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Everett.
EVERETT The currents of renewal begun by Vatican II will continue reshaping Catholicism, a Jesuit theologian told a Dec. 2 gathering of pastors and pastoral staff.
In his presentation, Vatican II Today and Tomorrow, Father Thomas R. Rausch took note of the five-year vision plan for the archdiocese developed by the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. A Vision of Hope was formally promulgated last month by Archbishop Alex J. Brunett.
The statement is remarkably open, said Father Rausch. The document is honest it raises some all but insoluble issues.
Father Rausch, professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, has published 11 books and specializes in the areas of ecclesiology, ecumenism and the theology of the priesthood.
He spoke at Advent Ministry Days, an in-service enrichment program for staffs of parishes sponsored by Archbishop Brunett. Father Rausch also spoke at St. Ann Church in Tacoma on Dec 1 and St. Rose Church in Longview on Dec. 3.
The process initiated by the Second Vatican Council, which met 1963-1965, is not yet completed, he said, nor is it received in the same way by all persons.
For some, we have come too far too fast, he said. Others are equally unhappy for opposite reasons.
For the vast majority, Vatican II belongs to history, he said.
In his presentation, Father Rausch dealt with the image of the church, the role of bishops, the role of the laity, and ecumenism.
The image of the church as the People of God established by the council is a far cry from the image of the church as the Perfect Society which suggests that it had nothing to learn from other societies, said Father Rausch. The church is also imaged as a mystery and a pilgrim church.
The church should be a sign of unity of the whole human family, he said.
The Vatican II teaching on the role of bishops, especially collegiality, results in an ecclesiology of communion, he said.
Bishops are not to be regarded as vicars of the Roman pontiff. Vatican II said that they, just as the pope, are also vicars of Christ.
The church is no longer understood as a papal monarchy but as episcopal collegiality, said Father Rausch.
Vatican II brought a great new understanding to the role of the laity.
From the time of the Council of Trent, the laity was reduced to being passive members, he said, their mission came only through the hierarchy.
The councils teaching on the universal call to holiness means the laity share equally in the mission of Christ.
There has been an explosion of ministry as the result of Vatican II, he said. The number of lay people formally preparing for full time ministry has more than doubled in the past nine years, he said. As a result, the churchs ministerial culture is becoming quite different, he said.
Father Rausch also noted the declericization of theology.
Theology was done in seminaries, he said. There was no place where women could go for graduate work in theology as late as 1965 when Marquette University established the first doctorate program.
Today, theology is being done by lay men and lay women, not priests, he said.
The sex abuse crisis has given evidence of the need to give laity more input into the governance of the church.
Evangelization is a priority.
Pope John Paul II has put it at the center of the understanding of the church and its mission, he said.
The pope has called Christians to a new evangelization in areas where Christianity has declined as well as among refugees, migrants young people and those influenced by the mass media.
What can we do to bring them home? is the question he said.
A very real question is whether the church is functioning in a collegial way, he said. Public criticism by members of the hierarchy is indicative of widespread dissatisfaction.
Later, responding to a question from the floor about the cause of the dissatisfaction, Father Rausch said, I think were at the end of a long pontificate. The reverence for the pontiff makes one reluctant to raise questions.
Most members of the College of Cardinals, who eventually will be electors, are not members of the Vatican curia but are pastors as head of dioceses, he said.
They are aware of the problems and will be looking for a pope who can handle them. Many are aware of the challenges the church is facing but would never address them publicly due to a reverence for this pope.
Globalization, which has far outdistanced the ability of churches to address problems because of their own divisions, calls for a rethinking of ecumenism, he said.
If ecumenism is not local, it will not be effective, he said. Local churches can establish effective ecumenical commissions, and parishes can have ecumenical officers, he said. Denominations can join in common celebrations and give common witness in social issues. he said.
The Church is neither the pope nor the bishops, though they are a part of the whole, the Church actually being the entire body of faithful, living and dead. This needs to be remembered. So too should we recall that ecclesiastical power in the hands of corrupt prelates leads to abuses which the faithful have an inherent right to resist.
The reshaping will continue until the Catholic Church is no longer recognizable.
Bishop Arthur J. Seratelli (Paterson NJ)
Bishop John J. Nevins (Venice FL)
Bishop Gerald Walsh (New York)
Bishop John Nienstedt (New Ulm)
All bishops of the USCCB
FROM: The Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc
. Recently, at the conclusion of one of your endless series of committee meetings (The Challenge of Mixed Marriage in American Life is Major Topic of U.S. Catholic-Jewish Consultation Committee), you issued the following statement:
The Consultation also discussed the state of Jewish-Catholic relations in the wake of the film, "The Passion of the Christ," which caused such deep and understandable concern within Jewish community world-wide. The film, it was noted, was in reality a modern version of the notorious medieval Passion Plays which so often over the centuries have triggered riots against the Jews of Europe. Happily, however, the film precipitated no such anti-Jewish violence. Rather, in many places it sparked discussions in which Catholics learned why Jews feared such dramatic depictions of the death of Jesus, and Jews learned that many Catholics today have taken to heart the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that the Jews collectively cannot be held responsible "then or now" for Jesus' death. It was noted as well that continuing work needs to be done among those who have not yet absorbed these official teachings of the Church.
Generally, we in the laity read your prodigious output of wordy, useless position statements and constant pastoral bloviating with a mixture of boredom and mild irritation. Occasionally, however, the U.S. Bishops come out with something that is so outrageous, so offensive, so truly malignant, that the laity cannot remain mute. And so it is with this, your latest piece of ecclesiastical drivel.
When we consider your words, we must reflect upon all that you have given the laity during the past several decades; to wit:
* You have destroyed our precious liturgy and replaced it with a quasi-heretical and saccharine floor show.
* You have corrupted our children with poisonous sex ed programs.
* You have allowed our children to be raped by perverted monsters in the clergy and have done everything in your power to cover up these crimes.
* You have destroyed our beautiful churches and Cathedrals and replaced them with ugly churches that resemble aircraft hangars or cement factories.
* You have squandered billions of dollars on useless or harmful ministries that are little more than glorified havens for left wing activists.
* You have persecuted holy and orthodox priests and nuns.
* You have denied priests their right to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, a right which no bishop or pastor of the Church can ever take away.
* You have destroyed the faith of millions by promoting false catechesis.
* You have turned away worthy candidates for the priesthood because they accepted the perennial teachings of the Church or because they opposed homosexuality.
The collective evil committed by the American Bishops dwarfs any harm committed in the Enron scandal, yet none of you have been sent to jail.
And now, when a man like Mel Gibson comes along and tries to glorify Our Lord with a movie, when he risks his personal fortune and reputation because Our Lord is despised by the World, you miserable serpents not only do not support him, but join with those who condemn his courageous and beautiful effort. Well, to you bishops, and to all the bishops of the USCCB, the Roman Catholic Faithful responds:
The movie The Passion of the Christ has done more to uplift the human heart, to bring souls to Christ, to increase holiness, and to glorify Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, than all the USCCB committees, subcommittees, documents, pastorals, letters, faxes and speeches put together.
Roman Catholic Faithful
The church is also imaged as a mystery ...Lumen Gentium asserts that the churchs organization and its charter is of divine origin. Collegiality, as used in Lumen Gentium, refers exclusively to that unique institution of the successors of the apostles, the bishops in union with the pope; they form the college, the collegium. One can reasonably say that just as Peter relates to his fellow apostles in the apostolic college as brothers and not as a sovereign to his subjects, and just as Jesus himself says that all will know you as my disciples because you do not lord it over each other as the gentiles do, that such is the norm in episcopal college, successor to the apostolic college. But to try to the notion of collegiality into a juridical hammer, a parliament of bishops, and then try to say that the parliamentary principle is the norm for every gathering and assembly in the Catholic Church is theologically false. It is a total misinterpretation of Lumen Gentium to to think that collegiality has to do with some populist notion of democracy.
What seems to be overlooked is that Chapter 2 of Lumen Gentium deals with the laity, Chapter 3 deals with the hierarchical church, but Chapter 1 deals with the mystery of the Church. In other words, the first defining description of the Church in Lumen Gentium, which is indisputedly the most important document of the council, is not the hierarchy, not the people of God, but the mystery of the Church as a communion of the whole: Christ Jesus, the pope, the bishops, the priests, the religious, the laity all one mysterious Body of Christ.
Rausch essentially admits VII intended to and created a new church.
Anyone who believes we are in the midst of a renewal is either blind or complicit.
These lay commitees, ministries, meddlers and wacked-out deacons have reshaped the Church in the way cancer reshapes a man's internal organs.
This hysterical letter will continue to marginalize RCF with the American bishops.
Thanks. I don't imagine I'll get many greetings like yours.
I felt much more compelled to evangelize the world by imitating Christ after leaving the old Mass.
One nun once told us that "Ite,miss est" meant,"Go,the mass has ended now fed by the Boky,Blood,Soul and Divinity of Christ,now,go out and imitate Christ in the world".
I will say that I wondered about the length of her English interpretation of those three Latin words. Nonetheless,it made a lot of sense then and it still does.
Every one should arm themselves with the document from Vat II that states "Led by Peter,in union with Peter and never without Peter" when they attend these brainwashing sessions. It slows down the dialogue to a little slower than a snail's pace when with document in hand,one raises his hand and asks,"Father,what does this mean"?
We now have the Indult in Phoenix and I am always stricken at the Consecration when the priest says "This is the Mystery of Faith------" It is so powerful. When I have attended the New Order Mass with my son and his children the "Christ has died,Christ is risen,Christ will come again",stands as a pitiful substitute. IMO.
And actually, I agree with you that the increasingly bitter tone of RCF will not help their cause.
On the other hand, much of the "explosion of lay ministry" is illicit. That should at least be recognized.
Grow up, sonny.
Appropriate handle for you though.
You welcome Sinky back by posting that idiotic picture ... I left that sort of behaviour behind in about 4th grade ... which may well have been before you were born. If you want to disagree with him (I often do), do so intelligently. I think you're capable of it ... but your #14 tells me a whole lot more about you than it does either about Sinky or Pope John Paul II.
None of it good.
Grow up. You're making traditionalism look bad.
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