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25 January 2017 Changing the Conversation (170509) Celebrating More Than 50 Years (170509) Conscience-Based Moral Judgments (170509) Dignitaries Humanae (170509) False Views on Jesus' Views on Divorce (170509) Mission and Human Rights (170509) Jesus and the Ordination of Women (170516) 29 May 2017 How much of Church Doctrine do we really believe? (170602) Trump Pulls Out of Paris Agreement (170602) 05 June 2017 Thoughts on Religious Vocations: An Open Letter to Pope Francis (170605) I can't get the institutional church out of my system (170618) 25 June 2017 Just War? Enough Already (170703) What would Teilhard say? Evolve or be annihilated (170710) Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (170719) Religion's Wax Nose (170726) American Civil Religion (170731) A Heresy of the Times (170807) Cardinal Calls for Global Church (170818) The Price of Being a Prophet (170821) The Implosion of the Roman Catholic Church (170902) Reflection on Racism in America (170913) Who am I? Where am I going? (170918) One Priest's Hopes for the Mass Translation (170925) The Edge of the Inside (171002) Selective Christianity (171016) Theology at the Cutting Edge: Healing the Political and Social Divide in America (171016) Resisting Islamophobia Is The Catholic Thing To Do. (171023) It Started With a Letter to the Archbishop (171030) Why Do We Still Tolerate Mass Stipends? (171106) Their Cross to Bear: Catholic Women Told to Forgive (171113) Papal loyalists become dissidents (171120) Echoes of Theocracy (171127) Will Pope Francis Remove the 'Warning'? (171204) Gumbleton on Nuclear Deterrence (171211) The Scandal of the 2011 Missal (171218)
ARCC News 2018
Prophets of a Future Not Our Own (20180101) 2018: Time to Become Ultra-Human? (20180118) Time for a Bonfire of Their Vanities? (20180122) Until All Are Welcome My House, My Rules: 3 Women "Rejected" (20180208) Policing the Communion Line (20180205) A Time to Judge (20180212) Mary McAleese Being Banned is Embarrassing (20180219) Correct, Don't Complicate Excommunication (20180226) Catholic Tradition, Labour, and Organizing Workers (20180305) Misogyny in the Vatican (20180312) The Unofficial Saint of the Internet (20180318) Francis Invites Change, But We Are the Change (20180325) Rediscovering the Role of Mary Magdalene as Apostle of the Apostles (20180401) Synodality and its Perils (20180409) Get rid of the clergy - But keep Holy Orders (20180415) Renewing the Program of Priestly Formation (20180429) Male and Female, in the image and likeness of God (20180506) Wedding Bans: Why Do Parishes Turn Young Couples Away? (20180513) Christian Humanism, the Path to the Divine (20180520) Mary - Prophet and Priest (20180527) A Wake-Up Call to Liberal Theologians (20160603) Canonization is right for Oscar Romero (20180610) Could the Church take a risk? (20180618) AJC expresses "Profound Concern" over beatification (20180624) The Bible's #MeToo Problem (20180701) 'Humanae Vitae' and the census fidelium (20180715) The Catholic Church wasn't always so against contraception (20180722) 50 years later, scientist's findings on birth control... (20180729) #MeToo, Your Excellency The Catholic Church needs a way to deal with bad bishops (20180812) The Catholic Church is tempted by power and obsessed with sex (20180819) Real change against abuse... (20180826) Pope Francis is facing a crisis of justice (20180829) Catholics Are Facing a Very Real Emergency (20180902) Truth and its violent consequences (20180909) The Third Millennial Catholic Reformation (20180917) Reality in an Historical-Critical Perspective (20180923) Both Prudential & Indisputable (20180930) Catholic Crossroads and Catholic Conflict (20181007) Schism or Evolution? (20181015) Theology: Stones or Bread? (20181028) White Christian America (20181102) Stone Throwing. Or Not. (20181104) Young People, Hope for the Church(es) (20181112) Who Represents the Laity? (20181118) Open Letter to the US Catholic Bishops: It's Over (20181125) From Collegiality to Synodality (20181203) The Birth of the Messiah (20181217) A Non-traditional Blessing for 2019 (20181231)
ARCC News 2019
Epiphany 2019 (20190107) Celibacy isn't the cause of the church sex-abuse crisis; the priesthood is (20190114) How to save Western civilization - again (20190121) Catholic curricula and the invisibility of Native Americans (20190128) Ministry and Power (20190204) A Document on Human Fraternity Our History The Reflection on the Wrath of God (20190224) Read Just One Speech (20190304) Why the Priesthood Needs Women (20190311) "Honest Rituals" argues for sacrament update (20190325) Stop Calling Me "Father" (20190401) The Sexual Abuse Crisis is not a Crisis (20190408) Palm Sunday 2019 (20190414) What Women Want (20190428) Targeting Pope Francis (20190513) Power Sharing Seen As Essential... (20190520) Pde Francis Dithering... (20190527) When the Sky Didn't Fall... (20190603) The Ancient Diaconate of Women (20190609) Bishop Bransfield and the Misuse of Funds (20190616) When it comes to Church reform... (20190624) We asked Catholic Church women if they... (20190630) Women in Christianity - Free to share their wounds (20190707) Can laypeople lead a parish? (20190714) Civility (2190721) Mary the Magdalen (20190729) Faithful America (20190804) Sacralizing Politics (20190811) Tackle Clericalism First (20190818) Failure Guaranteed (20190826) Divorce, Annulment & Communion (20190901) Human Nature & Human Sexuality (20190909) Climate Change Most Important Life Issue (20190915) Being An Open-Minded Believer (20190923) The Laity Hold the Key (20190929) Be Prophetic (20191013) Are You Satisfied With Priestly Ministry? (20191020) Racism - A Challenge to the Church (20191101) Irish Priests Call for... (20191104)
Changing Power Relationships


Power Sharing Seen As Essential... (20190520)

Power Sharing Seen as Essential


Contemporary Catholic Belief and Action


The mission of ARCC is to bring about substantive structural change within the Catholic Church by seeking to institutionalize a collegial understanding of church where decision making is shared and accountability is realized among Catholics of every kind and conditio n.
Once people start to believe change is possible, 
the drive to achieve it accelerates. 
                                          -   Patrick Sullivan, ARCC President
Power-sharing among clergy and laity seen as essential to a
'binding synodal procedure'
Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

The German Catholic bishops' recently announced that a commitment to initiating 
a "binding synodal procedure" will be a failure if the prelates do not give up some
of their power to the laity, a young theologian has warned.

Michael Seewald, a 32-year-old professor of dogmatics at the University of Münster,
said a successful synod procedure will depend on how the bishops will share power,
foster participation and implement a system of checks-and-balances.

In an April 26 article in the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Seewald said this
would require an act of courage on the part of the bishops who are "still tied to
the apron strings of the Roman Curia."

Vatican II and shared episcopal authority
The theologian noted that the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) had wanted the College
of Bishops to participate in church leadership together with the pope. But he said
this has not yet been put into practice because curial officials at the Vatican 
claim to hold power over the bishops through the pope's authority.

Theoretically, a bishop is all-powerful in his diocese, Seewald said. But he noted
that, de facto, diocesan leadership is much more complex and many people are involved
in a way that's difficult to understand. He said it is this discrepancy that had
contributed to the clergy sex abuse scandals of recent years.

On the one hand, a bishop holds all the decision-making power. But on the other 
hand, especially when failures became public knowledge, decision-making power is
rendered anonymous so that the bishop is freed from any direct responsibility.

The abuse crisis and a new option for power-sharing
Professor Seewald said the present crisis could be overcome, but it will require
the bishops to make a fundamental decision.

The first option is to create structures that distribute power in a straightforward
and easily understandable way and where decision-makers are held accountable.
But this will be possible, he said, only if bishops renounced some of their power,
allow themselves to be monitored and permit the laity to be more greatly involved.
Seewald said the other option is to allow everything to remain as it is. But he 
said this is risky because when the next scandal arises bishops will face justified
demands to step down if serious mistakes occurred in their dioceses.

The theologian said another aspect of power is that those who possess it not only
decide what can be done but also what is allowed to be said.

He claimed the bishops' promise to do everything to clear up abuse has been of little
value up to now since this is only possible in an open-minded culture in which grievances
could be openly stated.

Open-mindedness and the end of taboos
Unfortunately, the Catholic Church is still a long way from being culturally open-minded,
Professor Seewald said.

He said in a Church where it is officially forbidden to discuss certain subjects,
it took outside pressure to break the taboo on discussing criminal clerical sexual
abuse. And he lamented that there are still other issues that are taboo and whoever
dares to discuss them must reckon with inner-church sanctions.

"The synodal procedure will only succeed if the bishops renounce all taboos and 
put the Curia, which has gone wild, in its place," Seewald said.

He said this will require great courage because renouncing power is not for weaklings.
Up to now diocesan bishops have always pointed out what is not possible because 
of considerations for the global Church. But Seewald said they must start stating
clearly what is unacceptable at the local level.

"The synodal procedure can succeed only if the bishops are able to muster up enough
courage to take this approach," he said.

Christa Pongratz-Lippitt is Austrian correspondent for the London-based weekly Catholic
magazine The Tablet.
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