Pageviews last month

About Me

My Photo
United States
Roman Catholic Priest, still in reasonalby good standing; aka: eminence, the emeritis cardinal archbishop of HGN

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kung's Call For Reform: Part II


The best part of Kung’s letter to the bishops is his listing of the missed opportunities and the failed initiatives of Benedict XVI. I have listed some of them below. Kung’s suggestions embody the spirit of Vatican II.

I have this additional comment on Kung’s letter. If Benedict is going to take in the illegally consecrated bishops of the Pius X Society, then he should be willing to take in all the newly consecrated Womenbishops of the world.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0416/1224268443283.html?via=rel


Missed is the opportunity for a dialogue with Muslims in an atmosphere of mutual trust: Instead, in his ill-advised but symptomatic 2006 Regensburg lecture, Benedict caricatured Islam as a religion of violence and inhumanity and thus evoked enduring Muslim mistrust.
Missed is the opportunity for reconciliation with the colonised indigenous peoples of Latin America: Instead, the pope asserted in all seriousness that they had been “longing” for the religion of their European conquerors.
Missed is the opportunity to help the people of Africa by allowing the use of birth control to fight overpopulation and condoms to fight the spread of HIV.
Missed is the opportunity to make peace with modern science by clearly affirming the theory of evolution and accepting stem-cell research.
Missed is the opportunity to make the spirit of the Second Vatican Council the compass for the whole Catholic Church, including the Vatican itself, and thus to promote the needed reforms in the church.
This last point, respected bishops, is the most serious of all. Time and again, this pope has added qualifications to the conciliar texts and interpreted them against the spirit of the council fathers. Time and again, he has taken an express stand against the Ecumenical Council, which according to canon law represents the highest authority in the Catholic Church:
He has taken the bishops of the traditionalist Pius X Society back into the church without any preconditions – bishops who were illegally consecrated outside the Catholic Church and who reject central points of the Second Vatican Council (including liturgical reform, freedom of religion and the rapprochement with Judaism).
He promotes the medieval Tridentine Mass by all possible means and occasionally celebrates the Eucharist in Latin with his back to the congregation.
He refuses to put into effect the rapprochement with the Anglican Church, which was laid out in official ecumenical documents by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, and has attempted instead to lure married Anglican clergy into the Roman Catholic Church by freeing them from the very rule of celibacy that has forced tens of thousands of Roman Catholic priests out of office.
He has actively reinforced the anti-conciliar forces in the church by appointing reactionary officials to key offices in the Curia (including the secretariat of state, and positions in the liturgical commission) while appointing reactionary bishops around the world.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kung Writes To Bishops: Calls For Reform

Huns Kung has written a letter to the world's Roman Catholic Bishops asking them to speak up and take some ownership for the mess the church is in. The full article can be found in the Irish Times for April 16th. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0416/1224268443283.html?via=rel
The following is a list of six requests Kung makes to the bishops.

1. Do not keep silent: By keeping silent in the face of so many serious grievances, you taint yourselves with guilt. When you feel that certain laws, directives and measures are counterproductive, you should say this in public. Send Rome not professions of your devotion, but rather calls for reform!

2. Set about reform: Too many in the church and in the episcopate complain about Rome, but do nothing themselves. When people no longer attend church in a diocese, when the ministry bears little fruit, when the public is kept in ignorance about the needs of the world, when ecumenical co-operation is reduced to a minimum, then the blame cannot simply be shoved off on Rome. Whether bishop, priest, layman or laywoman – everyone can do something for the renewal of the church within his own sphere of influence, be it large or small. Many of the great achievements that have occurred in the individual parishes and in the church at large owe their origin to the initiative of an individual or a small group. As bishops, you should support such initiatives and, especially given the present situation, you should respond to the just complaints of the faithful.

3. Act in a collegial way: After heated debate and against the persistent opposition of the Curia, the Second Vatican Council decreed the collegiality of the pope and the bishops. It did so in the sense of the Acts of the Apostles, in which Peter did not act alone without the college of the apostles. In the post-conciliar era, however, the pope and the Curia have ignored this decree. Just two years after the council, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical defending the controversial celibacy law without the slightest consultation of the bishops. Since then, papal politics and the papal magisterium have continued to act in the old, uncollegial fashion. Even in liturgical matters, the pope rules as an autocrat over and against the bishops. He is happy to surround himself with them as long as they are nothing more than stage extras with neither voices nor voting rights. This is why, venerable bishops, you should not act for yourselves alone, but rather in the community of the other bishops, of the priests and of the men and women who make up the church.
4. Unconditional obedience is owed to God alone: Although at your episcopal consecration you had to take an oath of unconditional obedience to the pope, you know that unconditional obedience can never be paid to any human authority; it is due to God alone. For this reason, you should not feel impeded by your oath to speak the truth about the current crisis facing the church, your diocese and your country. Your model should be the apostle Paul, who dared to oppose Peter “to his face since he was manifestly in the wrong”! ( Galatians 2:11 ). Pressuring the Roman authorities in the spirit of Christian fraternity can be permissible and even necessary when they fail to live up to the spirit of the Gospel and its mission. The use of the vernacular in the liturgy, the changes in the regulations governing mixed marriages, the affirmation of tolerance, democracy and human rights, the opening up of an ecumenical approach, and the many other reforms of Vatican II were only achieved because of tenacious pressure from below.

5. Work for regional solutions: The Vatican has frequently turned a deaf ear to the well-founded demands of the episcopate, the priests and the laity. This is all the more reason for seeking wise regional solutions. As you are well aware, the rule of celibacy, which was inherited from the Middle Ages, represents a particularly delicate problem. In the context of today’s clerical abuse scandal, the practice has been increasingly called into question. Against the expressed will of Rome, a change would appear hardly possible; yet this is no reason for passive resignation. When a priest, after mature consideration, wishes to marry, there is no reason why he must automatically resign his office when his bishop and his parish choose to stand behind him. Individual episcopal conferences could take the lead with regional solutions. It would be better, however, to seek a solution for the whole church, therefore:

6. Call for a council: Just as the achievement of liturgical reform, religious freedom, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue required an ecumenical council, so now a council is needed to solve the dramatically escalating problems calling for reform. In the century before the Reformation, the Council of Constance decreed that councils should be held every five years. Yet the Roman Curia successfully managed to circumvent this ruling. There is no question that the Curia, fearing a limitation of its power, would do everything in its power to prevent a council coming together in the present situation. Thus it is up to you to push through the calling of a council or at least a representative assembly of bishops
.



I have the feeling reading the rest of Kung's letter outlining the failures of Benedict's leadership that the present pope is leading the church back to the 1950's.

Then I read these statistics about the numbers of Catholics leaving the Roman Catholic Church in droves from two dioceses in southern Germany, the pope's homeland and where some of my ancestors come from; and I wonder how much longer the pope, the bishops, or any serious catholic can ignore the present crisis. Although this letter is addressed to bishops, there are many suggestions that can be taken up by anyone who cares about the Catholic Church.

http://www.expatica.com/de/news/german-rss-news/german-catholics-leaving-church-in-droves:-report_36966.html


There is wisdom in Kung's letter. It makes me think that the wrong man has been elected pope.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Holy Week 2010


Maureen Dowd’s column in the New York Times this morning is a must read.

Maureen Dowd offers her opinion and the opinion of her brother Kevin who is male and conservative since the New York Archdiocese and Bill Donohue have been so dismissive of her and her opinions because she is a woman. Kevin Dowd writes: “In pedophilia, the church has unleashed upon itself a plague that threatens its very future, and yet it remains in a curious state of denial.”

Maureen Dowd adds: “I’ve been wondering, given the vitriolic reaction of the New York archbishop to my column defending nuns and the dismissive reaction of the Vatican to my column denouncing the church’s response to the pedophilia scandal, if they are able to take a woman’s voice seriously. Some, like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, seem to think women are trying to undermine the church because of abortion and women’s ordination.”

She continues: “We must reassess. Married priests and laypeople giving the sacraments are not going to destroy the church. Based on what we have seen the last 10 years, they would be a bargain.”

Read the whole column here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/opinion/07dowd.html?ref=opinion

In my opinion Holy Week 2010 will mark another turning point in the history of Vatican II. If it takes a hundred years after a council to get where it was pointing, the church today seems to be moving away once again from the grip of the conservative and fundamentalist Catholics. The reality of the Catholic Church in Holy Week 2010 was that of Humpty Dumpty smashed. Just look at the tortured face of Benedict and his defenders. Through all the weeping and gnashing of teeth, there are glimmers that the vision of the Church of Vatican II still lives.