Day 2 in RomeThe 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 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:
- God, through the church and the sacraments, performs healing works. We must not decide who is deserving or not deserving. We already share with all baptized people who feel invited by the resurrected Christ to partake in the communion meal, the "bread of life" (John 6:48)
- We already share the communion meal that Jesus gave us, with our sisters and brothers from other Christian Churches. We celebrate our tradition of communion with our fellow Christians and partake in their traditions of communion celebration.
- We already invite remarried couples to bless their relationship and prudently address questions of guilt, reconciliation and new beginnings. We share also with these Christians, the bread of life.
- We already accept those with different sexual orientation as our sisters and brothers. We stand by them and insist that they belong to our church with all the rights and obligations of such membership.
- In the celebration of Eucharist and Liturgy of the word, women and men, of course educated theologians, baptized and confirmed Catholics, already interpret the words of God in their sermons (homilies).
- We already give encouragement to the ill and when asked anoint them and their relatives to offer spiritual and physical strength.
- In a variety of ways we already offer people steps along the path of forgiveness. We are convinced that when a person is ready, the important elements of forgiveness of sins are possible to provide within a personal exchange with us as ministers.
- With the mutual understanding of the Priests, the ministers and Deacons, bring the intercessional dimension of the Eucharistic prayer to the people. Through this we bring a network of service to the people, built upon a responsibility for the church already shared by both ministers/Deacons and Priests.
- Because solidarity in the witness of Christ normally needs human encounter and exchange, we already stand in support of an easily comprehensible parish. A pastoral region of more parishes is therefore only a subsidiary structure.
- Every Sunday each parish already celebrates the Day of the Lord with the people and the local minister. Every Parish furthermore has a contact person in the form of a community leader.
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.
FutureChurch will be reporting on the daily work of the synod . Follow us on on our Blog, Facebook and Twitter.