On the eve of 500th anniversary of the most significant reform of the Catholic Church leading to the Protestant Reformation, an Australian priest excommunicated for supporting women priests, has launched a radical program to reform the Catholic Church.
Father Greg Reynolds, founder of Inclusive Catholics, a liberated fringe group of Catholics disillusioned with, and disenfranchised from, the institutional church, is calling for parishioners across the globe to take greater responsibility for their local church.
His plan is for parishes to establish what he calls a ‘House of the Laity’ to empower church-going Catholics to take responsibility for the life of their parishes.
In its relationship with the Bible, religious society of the late Middle Ages existed in a kind of self-contradiction, and this was one of the decisive factors driving the Protestant Reformation. On the one hand, the Church hierarchy jealously guarded the clerical privilege of studying and interpreting the Holy Scriptures; on the other hand, translations of the Bible into the vernacular were being widely printed and circulated among the laity.
In the years leading up to the beginnings of the Reformation 500 years ago, there were 18 editions of so-called full-text Bibles available in Germany and 23 in France. And while the bishops argued that to allow laymen or laywomen to read and interpret the Bible would be to cast pearls before swine, the reformers fought for the religious autonomy of all the faithful. The first Wittenberg theologian to appeal for the Bible to be made available in the vernacular to laypeople was not Martin Luther but his colleague Andreas Rudolf Bodenstein von Karlstadt. The concept of “the priesthood of all believers” was at the centre of Wittenbergian ecclesiology from 1520, and inspired the increasing involvement of the laity in the reform movement in the period between late 1521 and the peak of the Peasants’ War in 1525.
More: The Tablet
College chaplains from King’s, Trinity, and St John’s are holding a series of special services in their chapels which aim to provide “inclusive spaces” for LGBT+ Christians to “encounter God”. A total of six special services have or will be held across the three colleges this term, the next of which will be King’s College’s ‘Critical Mass’ service on 26 October.
Trinity College chapel will host a Compline+ service on 1 November, followed by another King’s service on 9 November. St John’s Open Table service on 16 November will conclude the series.
Disputes over sex and gender have ripped apart the Protestant world and threaten to create schism among Catholics, but perhaps there’s hope for a new Reformation about such issues, theologians and writers said in an Oct. 17 panel discussion at Fordham University.
Catholics have so far weathered the storm around gender issues, while debates over same-sex marriage and other concerns have splintered other denominations, said David Cloutier, professor of moral theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington. “I sometimes think it’s coming for us,” he said in his concluding remarks to the discussion, sponsored by the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture. Fordham is New York’s Jesuit university.
The discussion was built around the theme of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and explored how issues around sex and gender can be confronted across the Christian spectrum.
Many LGBT Catholics know only too well that the “Pharisees and doctors of the law” are still around, and using the law as self-appointed gatekeepers to God’s kingdom. Give thanks that Pope Francis is aware of the problem.
The Pharisees and doctors of the law who claim salvation comes only from fulfilling God’s laws are not just biblical figures of the past, Pope Francis said.
“There are many of them today, too. That is why praying for us priests is necessary,” so that today’s ministers will not close the door like the Pharisees did to people seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness, he said in his homily Oct. 19 during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Catholics from around the world will gather in Dublin next August for the World Meeting of Families, an event Pope Francis is expected to attend and which is based on his 2016 pastoral letter about family life. Comments from some church leaders in Ireland, plus promotional materials meant to prepare Catholics for the gathering, suggest that the event is making a special outreach to L.G.B.T. people and their families at a time of rapid social transformation in Ireland.
The theme for the 2018 World Meeting of Families is “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World,” a reference to the pope’s letter about family life called “Amoris Laetitia,” or “The Joy of Love.” That pastoral letter addresses an array of issues facing contemporary families and calls on church ministers to accompany families through challenging times.
Some critics of the pope have complained about sections of “Amoris Laetitia” that they say undermine church teaching, particularly when it comes to nontraditional families. But a number of high-profile bishops and laypeople have rallied behind the document and many dioceses have begun implementing pastoral reforms based on it.
More: America Magazine
Theologian Massimo Faggioli and President John Petillo of Sacred Heart University have analyzed some of the issues regarding recent social media attacks from “far-right” Catholic groups who use vicious rhetoric against LGBT people.
Faggioli, a professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University, Pennsylvania, called these right-wing groups “Catholic cyber-militias.” He wrote in La Croix:
“These cyber militants are not alone. Rather, they are part of the “age of anger” from which the Catholic Church is not immune. These groups and individuals are particularly active and influential in the Catholic Church in the United States. Much of this is the result of more than thirty years of episcopal appointments under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, which recast the US episcopate in the image of the ‘cultural warrior.’”
More: New Ways Ministry
‘In a short time, you [Francis] have succeeded in reshaping the pastoral culture of the Roman Catholic Church in accordance with its origin in Jesus’
A group of 100 predominantly German speaking theologians and bishops have started a petition in support of Pope Francis following accusations that he is allowing the spread of heresy.
Last month 62 clergy and scholars submitted a “filial correction” of the Pope over his attempts to give divorced and remarried Catholics communion arguing that he has “effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life.” Their letter was later received over 10,000 signatures.
The latest petition, however, praises his his “courageous and theologically sound papal leadership” while admitting Francis’ “pastoral initiatives” are coming under “vehement attack.”
Source: The Tablet
One of those authorities was the World Health Organization. The other was the Pope. The difference between their two approaches illustrates a growing rift between scientific authorities and some religious leaders.
The Pope’s comments came during a question and answer session with bishops in Krakow. A Vatican-translated transcript of the conversation, which began to circulate last week, shows the Pope describing “forms of ideological colonization” including “[the ideology of] ‘gender.’”
More: Religion Dispatches
Faith leaders who insist same-sex couples should not be able to marry — even those who also promote love and support for LGB people — may be causing serious harm to the mental health of LGB individuals, the author of a new study on the impacts of religious anti-gay prejudice has said.
LGBT people have frequently been shown in previous studies to have poorer mental health outcomes than their heterosexual counterparts, resulting in part from the stress that prejudice and anti-gay discrimination can cause.
But in the new study, published this week in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, researchers from Macquarie University found both LGB and heterosexual people who were exposed to even subtle religious anti-gay prejudice, such as disapproval of same-sexuality among religious groups, displayed higher levels of stress, shame, depression and anxiety.