The North American Catholic Church – Catholics from the United States and Canada – offer five priorities to be discussed at the October Roman Synod.
Last week I wrote about the first of the five.
The second priority: The Church has the challenge of welcoming those who feel excluded from participation in the life of the Church, and to do so in a manner that is authentic and faithful to the Gospel. Often this tension was obvious in the words of individuals and communities. People believe that welcoming and serving the wounded and isolated in the world and in the Church is an essential aspect of the mission Jesus gave to his Church. People believe this is essential – without this, a community cannot call itself the Church of Jesus Christ. That’s what essential means. The carrying out of this mandate implies new initiatives and Gospel accountability. What does it mean to be “radically inclusive”? What are the implications of this? How do we become more welcoming and inclusive? And, how do we do this with authenticity, and not just window-dressing?
The third priority: Co-responsibility. How can baptismal co-responsibility for the mission of the Church be achieved? How does co-responsibility demand a better understanding of the roles of the laity in general, and women and young people in particular? How does our hierarchical church learn the art of shared decision-making and transparency? Pope Francis says that clericalism is the great sin the Church must overcome. There is a universal call to holiness that Vatican II proclaimed. Ordination or religious profession is not the call to holiness; the call is found in the sacrament of baptism. Every single member of the Church is called to live out his/her baptism and in doing so, live as the one People of God. There are no first-class and second-class memberships in the church.
Fr. Steve Adrian