The People Speak Out

Local voices connecting globally

This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.  (Pope Francis)

Canon Law 212 calls upon the laity to speak up:

2 - The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. - According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

Brian Coyne’s link to the Life-Site video ( ) is very interesting. We have been thinking that Francis is not doing enough, but there are those who believe — quite deeply — that what he is doing is the wrong thing.

The video is a half hour, but I found it worth reflecting upon.

Is it any wonder that Jesus and the Pharisees didn’t see eye to eye? The participants in this video are Pharisees on steroids. Where is Christ in their thinking, the Christ who preached the reign of God?

They are a cautionary tale, however. They want the “unchangeable law” to remain the same, and they all but condemn Francis for bringing questions (and therefore “confusion”) about such unchangeable laws as the indissolubility of marriage. Imagine! The higher law of “love of God and neighbor” raising questions about “indissolubility”. Shame on Francis, and shame on Christ.
In terms of strategy, perhaps Francis is wiser than we appreciate in staying away from changes in “doctrine”.

“Law” is about what the community sees from the outside; “the reign of God” is a deeper connection to the presence of God within. How can we have a strategy for change — for reform of policy — without distracting from Christ’s emphasis upon the reign of God?
The obvious answer is to focus on the reign of God — this deeper connection to the God who is present within — and leave doctrinal questions to fend for themselves. Perhaps this is what Francis is doing. If we push him in the direction of doctrinal change do we become Pharisees of a different sort?

There is much injustice in present Church doctrine related to marriage and the family. I did not detect in the video any openness to, much less concern about, the existence of such injustice. But injustice is the stuff of field hospitals, found through “accompaniment” and “encounter”.

Are there policy changes that we should seek or support that are not simply “changes in doctrine”? A few come to mind: governance structures, where the people get involved not simply in doing good works or helping the parish, but in policy decisions. Safeguards to deal with sexual abuse of children is an area where the people can take initiative, and perhaps do more than advise the pastor or bishop. The recent Moto Proprio leaves room for such initiatives, covering a wide range of concerns about protecting the vulnerable.
Perhaps it would also be helpful to reconsider the conceptual framework within which all these matters are currently decided.
All these things could be agenda items for a Peoples Synod, the results of which could provide hope and encouragement to “local gatherings” whose initiatives would be included in the run up to the Peoples Synod.

There is a strategy in there somewhere.{jcomments on}