Is the Catholic Church on the verge of major reforms?in Homepage Categories
The winds of change are blowing.
Could the Catholic Church be on the verge of the most significant reforms it has enjoyed since Vatican II?
It wouldn't happen overnight, of course, but it's a real possibility, depending on what comes out of Pope Francis' "Synod 2021-2023." In a nutshell, the synod is a 2-year process in which bishops around the world are consulting with Catholics of every stripe: lay people, priests, nuns, etc. At the end of this period, the bishops will gather to discuss ways in which the governance of the Church can become more "synodal" – that is, more open to the ideas of various groups that make up the Church. This means, among other things, that the people in general, the laity, will have more of a voice.
"[This is] a process of mutual listening...involving the entire People of God: ...bishops, priests, religious and laity have to listen to one another," Pope Francis has written. " It is not ... a survey, but a matter of listening to the Holy Spirit... ."
Signaling his openness to change for the better, Pope Francis also writes that it's dangerous "to apply old solutions to new problems." He points out that complacency is "poison for the life of the Church." He warns against an attitude that says, " 'We have always done it this way,' and it is better not to change."
One voice that is being heard loud and clear is that of John Wijngaards, a reform-minded Catholic priest and theologian who founded and leads the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research. He's written a book titled "Ten Commandments for Church Reform: Memoirs of a Catholic Priest." (Available from the publisher, www.acadianhouse.com.) These "10 Commandments" form an ideal framework for any synodal discussions on the real issues facing the Church today.
Wijngaards has also initiated a petition to Pope Francis and the Vatican Synodal Office making 10 recommendations to reform the Church. (If you'd like to read the petition, and possibly add your name to it, go to https://ten-commandments.org/sign-our-petition/) Recommendations include: allowing priests to marry, welcoming women into the priesthood and diaconate, and avoiding the appointment of narrow-minded bureaucrats intent on blocking Church reform.
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