Letter of information n°1 12 September 2016
By your endorsing the “Council 50 declaration” you are member of the “Global Council Network”. It is a pleasure to write to you to think and work together on what should be this network. To recall the spirit of our endeavor, the first part of this letter is an update on the last gathering of delegates that took place last November in Rome. Then, a second part will describe the main activities for the forthcoming years planned during this gathering and finally to invite you to contribute to the preparation of the first synod of the people of God that will take place in 2018 in Brasilia that will a major activity of the forthcoming years.
1) Update on the Gathering of delegates 20-22 November 2015 in Rome
First of all, let me briefly update those of you who did not attended the gathering of Rome.
Although the Council renewed the Catholic Church, the stride for expressing the Gospel message in a way that the contemporary men and women can understand was stopped. The election of Pope Francis and the spirit he gave in the early days to his pontificate, his renewed attention to Synods, his attitudes, calls, gestures aroused great hope and encouraged this part of the Church to support him in his efforts to turn the Church from a dogmatic attitude to a pastoral and evangelic approach, and to respond to his exhortations, in particular that in "Evangelii Gaudium", recommending to the bishops "in certain circumstances to walk behind the people because the herd possesses itself an intuition to find new paths ".
In order to respond to this call, to be faithful to the message of Vatican II and to the Gospel and to give an expression of the sensus fidelium/fidei , a gathering of delegates of reform movements, associations and communities around the world was organized in Rome on November 20-22 2015 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the close of the Council Vatican II, and of the Pact of Catacombs. About 100 delegates from 28 countries spread within 5 continents met together and bring the views of their groups, movements, and countries on reforms to be undertaken by our Church towards both:
i) the being of the Church (the people including the hierarchy), her functioning and her organization in order to improve her, so that she is in 21th century what she says to be,
ii) the saying it and the doing of the Church in order to allow her members to illuminate, with the Spirit of Jesus, our evolving world and to contribute to its transformation into a world of peace, social and economic justice, solidarity, a world fighting against poverty in which every man and every woman can develop him/herself in all the dimensions of his/her being. Hence the leitmotiv "Council 50, towards a Church inspired by Gospels for the world ".
A book on this event is in progress and will be published as soon as possible. Miriam Duignam published in the March 2016 issue of the magazine RENEW an article reporting on the gathering of Rome and posted on the Council 50 website
A first expression was the “Council 50 declaration” that most of you did endorse. This declaration was submitted to Pope Francis on the 8th of December 2015, the 50th anniversary of the close of Vatican II.
Very much motivated by this gathering, participants demanded that the process thus initiated in Rome be pursued. Therefore, right after the last plenary session of the gathering, a new meeting was organized in November 22 2015 in order to satisfy this demand. During this meeting, a plan was establish and agreed upon to proceed along the same lines.
2) Actions agreed to be undertaken?
These actions are particularly aiming at
- giving a new impulse to the great spectrum of movements fighting in favour of the renovation of Catholic Church and give them the possibility to express themselves, as members of the people of God;
- consolidating proposals of the people of God in favour of the renovation of Catholic Church, and particularly of the Council 50 declaration;
- expanding the network with reform organizations, movements, communities, groups which didn't participate in Rome and which work for a more democratic Church inspired by the Gospel and the openings of the Council Vatican II, committed with peace, economic and social justice, solidarity, integrity of creation, with equality in rights and responsibilities between women and men in the Church.
i) Endorsement of the “Council 50 declaration” by as many people as possible. This can easily be done on the website and development of the “Global Council network”. This network is composed of all those who endorsed the declaration. This is easily done via the website:.
If you received directly this letter, you are on the Global Council Network”. If you want to be informed on the actions to be undertaken along these lines, and eventually to contribute to these actions, do not hesitate to contact a member of this network.
ii) work with local groups, associations, movements, parishes for thinking at the needed reforms to introduce both in the Church and the world in the spirit of the “Council 50 declaration”, and the best ways to implement them. A possible way to proceed is to organize in your own territories forums, thematic discussions, etc. for contributing to the in building-up of a common agenda having in mind the principles and directions of the Medellin Document and of the Council 50 declaration in order to contribute to the preparation of the forthcoming “Synod of the people of God” presented below.
iii) Organization of a series of “Synods of the people of God” on topics chosen along the lines of the Council 50 declaration, its improvement, its coloration by the culture and the specificities of the regions where they will take place. The first one in Latin America in 2018, presented below and the second one in Africa.
3) The First Synod of the people of God in Brasilia in 2018 and its preparation
Following the very interesting proposal of Lula Ramires, Edson and Daniel from San Paulo in Brazil, the first Synod of the people of God will take place in Brasilia in 2018, at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Conference of Latin American Bishops that took place in Medellin where the option for the Poor was reinforced and the base communities recognised. This is the opportunity for every community, group; movement all around the world to participate and contribute to make its voice heard for reforms in the Church and the society in order to transform our 21st century world in the light of the Spirit of Jesus and the Gospel into a world of peace, social and economic justice, solidarity, a world with respect to human rights and a world that preserves our planet..
An international committee including delegates of reform networks or movements, including a local committee particularly in charge of the practical local organisation, is being set-up to launch the process of elaboration of the content of this Synod and to prepare the program in cooperation with all groups, movements, communities interested. The first meeting of the international committee preparing this synod will be held on 6-7 November 2016 in Rome.
It has been suggested that this Synod should
- emphasize the shortcomings of the present organization of our Church and of its behavior,
- present alternatives in the light of the Council Vatican II, the Gospel and resulting theological approaches including the theology of liberation.
- express a vision based on the message of Jesus, that is able to inspire the whole world for social and economic justice, solidarity, human rights, preservation of our planet and peace.
- restore the hope that the good spirit laid down in documents more than 50 years ago, as well as in the talks and practice of our Pope Francis, is going to break through anyway.
What do you think?
It is very important in this venture to benefit from the support and contributions from all reform groups and movements throughout the world in order to build a synod that will express the views of the People of God.
This is why you are invited to sign with your name, email and association, group, movement, network, communities, etc, the letter of invitation to this synod which will be finalized during the meeting of the organizing committee in Rome. Therefore, if you agree to sign the letter of invitation to the 2018 synod, you will receive the draft of the invitation letter for review.
With my best regards
Vatican II: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html cf. for instance IV-37: They [the laity] should openly reveal to them [spiritual shepherds] their needs and desires with that freedom and confidence which is fitting for children of God and brothers in Christ. They are, by reason of the knowledge, competence or outstanding ability which they may enjoy, permitted and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church…
by Dr. Paul Hwang
Director of the Center for Asia Peace and Solidarity under WTI
Chairperson of Theological Committee of Pax Romana- ICMICA
I would like to begin this essay with Pope Francis’ well known ideas of Church as “field hospital” and which “goes forth” to the marginalized. In the papal exaltation Evanglii Gaudium, he mentions Church to go forth many times by which he means as follows: “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and which then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.” (no. 49) This ecclesiological view goes well with and is more strongly expressed in his view on church as “field hospital”. He said, “I see the church as a field hospital after a battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugar! You have to heal his wounds.”
However, realities of the churches in Asia and the world including Roman Curia hardly find a right subject or force to push through the job within the church communities. There has been an urgent need for their renewal about which Francis points out: there is “ecclesial structures which can hamper efforts at evangelization” (no.26). Yes, it is a problem of structure or “structural sin” seen in the current hierarchical structure of the church everywhere. He goes further that the renewal of structures demanded by “pastoral conversion” can only be understood in this light.
Catholic reform groups - Council 50 gathering in Rome
by Miriam Duignan for RENEW
The ‘Council 50’ meeting that took place in Rome from 20-22nd November 2015 aimed ‘to relight the flame of the Second Vatican Council’ and was timed to mark 50 years since it closed. After two years of planning, 100 delegates from Catholic reform movements around the world came together and worked on a combined declaration addressing key areas of focus for reform in the Church.