Friday, August 14, 2009

Catholic Coalition for Church Reform

Last month we reported on a new Catholic Church reform organization called The American Catholic Council. Now the Catholic News Agency, God bless 'em, has alerted us to another group, Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, which plans to hold its first synod somewhere in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocesan area in 2010.

CCCR, which describes its vision as "a church fully alive, locally and universally, that radiates Jesus’ core teaching of radical equality, unabashed inclusivity, and transforming love," is composed of a mixture of national and Minnesota-based groups including the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, Call to Action – Minnesota, Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities, Corpus, Dignity Twin Cities, Minnesota St Joan’s Community, The Progressive Catholic Voice, and Roman Catholic Women Priests.

The Coalition already has functional working groups in the following areas: Bishop Selection, Clericalism in the Church, Catholic Spirituality, Church Authority and Governance, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Catholic Identity/Christian Identity, Social Justice, and The Church, Children and Youth. Groups on other topics are being planned.

As for the group's 2010 Synod, they have already identified Dr. Paul Lakeland, a profesor of Religious Studies at Fairfield University, as the prospective keynote speaker. Lakeland is the author of numerous books on church reform and the role of the laity in the Catholic Church. The synod is to be preceded by a fundraising dinner featuring Fr. Roy Bourgeois of SOA Watch. Catholic News Agency took the trouble to contact Bourgeois' former (I guess) order, Maryknoll, to find out whether or not he was excommunicated. They report that Maryknoll informed them that Bourgeois "had been excommunicated automatically after he did not recant his statements regarding the ordination of women."

Actually, this seems to be a matter of debate since as recently as August 8th, Bourgeois told a reporter from The Journal News that he has not heard from the Vatican since he received the initial "recant or else" threat last fall. "I have not gotten anything saying I am defrocked," Bourgeois, who continues to celebrate Mass and baptize babies, told The Journal News. "I continue to be a Catholic priest in good standing." According to the newspaper, Maryknoll's superior general, the Rev. Edward M. Dougherty, issued the statement a couple of months ago saying that Bourgeois had been "automatically excommunicated" after refusing to recant. [Translation: "If you want to excommunicate me, have the guts to do it yourselves formally and directly instead of hiding behind this latae sententiae stuff, because I'm not about to excommunicate myself."]

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has taken great pains to issue a statement disassociating itself from the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform:

The Archdiocese wishes it to be known that the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, the 2010 synod, and individuals endorsing the same, are not agents or entities of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis or the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, the Archdiocese wishes to lovingly caution those members of the faithful participating in the ‘work/study groups’ and intending to attend the synod of the potential that the issues on which CCCR will seek reform are magisterial teachings of the Church, and are therefore to be believed by divine and catholic faith. The Archdiocese also wishes to remind the faithful of its need to shun any contrary doctrines, and instead to embrace and retain, to safeguard reverently and expound faithfully, the doctrine of faith and morals proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church.

Consider yourself warned...;-)

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