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LAY NETWORK UPDATE
CLAIMING OUR VOICES
in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
   

 
 
2017 looks like it will be a challenging year. We need that gift of fortitude.  CCCR-Council of the Baptized strategic plan for 2017 calls for bearing down on specific plans.  Plans in progress are listed on the website, www.cccr-cob.org .  

One question of justice that is continually under challenge is justice for women.  We are bearing down on a proposal to re-establish a Women's Commission in the Archdiocese.  In an institution whose policy makers, bishops and pastors, are all male, it is especially important for the policy makers to have the consultation of women.  Not only women who are on the payroll, but also independent consultative groups.  The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had a Women's Commission under Archbishop John Roach in the late 90's.  Women who served on it remember the experience as productive and inspiring.

Many former members gathered at the Council of the Baptized Open Forum on January 10 to get feedback from the community on what work a Women's Commission could accomplish to supplement the work of other women's groups in the Archdiocese.  When the team working on the proposal takes it to the Archbishop, we will publish it on the website.

More just than having consultative groups of women for male policy-makers would be equal participation of women in making policy. How can that happen when ordination is required for equal participation? The Council of the Baptized has a team working on a position paper addressing the question of ordination for women.  When that is published in the next couple of months you will hear about it here.
 
Bulletin Board

Questions from Paula Ruddy:  Did you notice in the Catholic Spirit that the Minnesota Catholic bishops are gathering Catholics at the Capitol in March to talk with legislators?   For many years Catholics have joined with Minnesota Council of Churches members in the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) to lobby for social justice.  Many of us have participated in the JRLC's Day on the Hill. The next one is in February.  For the first time, Catholics are going by themselves in March.  
 
J ason Adkins, Minnesota Catholic Conference executive director, says "This isn't about pressuring legislators or imposing our will on them.  ... It's actually a service to legislators ... [to offer] our perspective as Catholics, as a member of a particular parish, of a particular community, about what serves the common good. And it's definitely important for Catholics like anyone else in society to offer that perspective. ...  
A lot of our bread-and-butter issues were covered by other advocacy coalitions or advocacy partners that we could funnel Catholics into.  What changed is that not only do we need a distinctly Catholic and faith voice at the Capitol, but we [also] need to equip Catholics to engage the political process."

Question:  Is there a single perspective among all Catholics in Minnesota on political issues?  Wouldn't it be a better use of time, effort, and money to promote honest dialogue among Catholics on questions of conscience?  Where is that honest dialogue taking place among ourselves?

Question: What is the reason Catholic bishops are not encouraging Catholics to join in the JRLC lobbying agenda?   How does "a distinctly Catholic and faith voice" differ from the social justice agenda of the other churches in the JRLC? Can Catholics by themselves determine the common good of all Minnesotans?

I agree with the bishops that Catholics should develop an ethic of citizenship and participate in the political sphere. The first thing we should do is object to being "funnelled."   What do you think?

In joyful hope,
CCCR Board and Council of the Baptized