The Church is beleaguered by scandal brought about by abuse of power by clergy and bishops with the passivity of lay people and, in some cases, their complicity. It is a time of deep grief for the suffering caused and a time of grace to wake us up.
What can we, sharing in the roles of Jesus as priest, prophet, and king, do to serve our Church in this Archdiocese at this moment in history?
We can carry on. Council of the Baptized holds its open forum this evening, September 11, with a discussion of conscience at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 S. Snelling in St. Paul, at 7:00 p.m. This forum continues to develop our understanding of the Second Vatican Council 's opening the Church to the action of the Holy Spirit in the world. Please come.
And we can step up. Archbishop Hebda invites us to pray together on Saturday, September 15, at 11:00 at the St. Paul Cathedral.
Praying inspires us to put our faith into action.
We can respond to that invitation.
CCCR/Council of the Baptized wants to stand with Archbishop Hebda in his actions to unify and strengthen this Archdiocese in its witness to Jesus.
We are grateful for and trust his efforts to establish a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults in the Archdiocese under the direction of Timothy O'Malley.
We appreciate his acknowledgement of the damage done by sexual abuse and cover-up and his ongoing actions of support for survivors.
However, in order to move forward in trust, we call for further action by Archdiocesan leadership and pledge our support for the following initiatives:
We ask the Archbishop to authorize an independent lay-led commission to expose the roots of the abuse of power in the Church in all its manifestations. The commission should be charged with recommending changes in policy, practice, doctrine and governance structures to dismantle the culture of clericalism. We can implement many changes locally.
In addition we ask him to convene an Archdiocesan working Synod with lay representatives from all perspectives to provide the Commission with data for their work. This work should begin immediately.
In this Archdiocese there was another egregious abuse of power in the recent past in addition to the sexual abuse and cover-up. Former Archbishop John C. Nienstedt's excessive, costly, and personally harsh political campaign opposing the civil rights of LGBTQ citizens for marriage equality caused enormous damage to the Church. Transparency and full trust require that Archbishop Hebda make the investigation into allegations against the former Archbishop public. We ask also that he acknowledge the hurt and anger that remain in the Church and beyond it due to the former Archbishop's treatment of gays, lesbians, their families, friends, and allies.
We ask for these actions by the Archbishop in the hope of earning people's trust and unifying our Archdiocese to do the Church's mission in the world.
Please let us know if you support this call for a local questioning of our Catholic culture. Do we need to address the nature, the extent, and the practical implications of clericalism?
Still trying to live in joyful hope,
CCCR Board and Council of the Baptized