Advent is frequently a time for bishops to release pastoral letters and other documents to offer their reflections. This year, two such documents reflect the style and substance of Pope Francis in his efforts for a more merciful and inclusive church.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, released a pastoral letter entitled The Flesh and the Facts. In its first words, the letter cites both the Year of Mercy and Pope Francis, saying “we don’t now set mercy aside” simply because the Jubilee year has concluded. Coleridge wrote:
“In Genesis we’re told that God saw what he had made and found it very good (1:31). Christmas says that God saw what he had made and, seeing its goodness disfigured, decided to become part of his own creation to restore it to the glory he intended from the beginning. The God who takes flesh deals not in abstractions but in facts. Likewise the Church that worships the mystery of the Word-made-flesh needs to deal with facts. That’s where mercy starts.
“At times what we believe and teach can seem too abstract. That’s the sense I had listening to certain voices at last year’s Synod on marriage and the family in Rome. What I heard at times was logical, perhaps even beautiful in a way, but it didn’t put down roots in the soil of human experience, and it would have been incomprehensible to most people outside the Synod Hall.”
is frequently a time for bishops to release pastoral letters and other documents to offer their reflections. This year, two such documents reflect the style and substance of Pope Francis in his efforts for a more merciful and inclusive church. Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, released a pastoral letter entitled The Flesh and the Facts. In its first words, the letter cites both the Year of Mercy and Pope Francis, saying “we don’t now set mercy aside” simply because the Jubilee year
At New Ways Ministry’s Bondings 2.0 blog, Rober Shine notes that for World Aids Day, Pope Francis has made a call for “responsible behaviour” as a strategy to combat the epidemic. “Responsible behaviour” is an important principle we should promote, not just with respect to AIDS and other STD’s, but across the entire field of sexual ethics. An emphasis on responsibility rather than on blind adherence to arbitrary rules, would include mutual respect and equality between partners, and recognition of the importance of love and sound family planning.
Taken together with the emphasis in Amoris Laetitia on conscience, discernment, the interior forum and “accompaniment”, much of the current objectionable nonsense in Vatican sexual doctrines would fade into insignificance, and then into obscurity.
Today is World AIDS Day, a worldwide commemoration since 1988 to mourn the dead and raise awareness about the living. Issues around HIV/AIDS have been challenging in the Catholic Church, which has both contributed to homophobia and forstalled necessary prevention practices, as well as provided lifesaving healthcare globally, often to underserved communities.
Into this tension, Pope Francis offered remarks about World AIDS Day during his weekly audience yesterday. His remarks may signal a shift in tone, if not substance, as he said:
“Millions of persons are living with this disease, and only half of them have access to life-saving therapies. I invite you to pray for them and for their loved ones and to promote solidarity, because even the poorest can benefit from diagnosis and appropriate care. Finally, I call upon all to adopt responsible behavior to prevent further spread of this disease.”
Source: Bondings 2.0
Check out the top 35 LGBTQ Christian books of 2016 — including queer theology, Bible, history, memoir, fiction and church life for all ages.
The incredibly diverse list was announced today by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry on the Jesus in Love Blog at Qspirit.net.
“Transgender themes are the hottest trend this year,” she reported. “More transgender Christian books were published, their quality was high and readers snapped them up.”
Another exciting development is the addition of children’s books as a new category the first time this year. “Even little kids can now hear stories that affirm LGBTQ people of faith when their parents read out loud to them,” Cherry said.
Source: – Q Spirit
At first glance, Advent might seem to be a season designed to mess with our notion of time. Advent, we hear frequently, is about waiting, about expecting. These words, at least for me, don’t strike up images that imply a lot of activity: waiting and expecting, for me, conjure up scenes in which activity is temporarily suspended–like sitting in a doctor’s office, or waiting on a crucial email you need from a colleague in order to complete a project.
On the other hand, everything about our daily lives during this time of year seems to be in a state of consumer frenzy, amplified by the compulsion to shop and buy presents, to prepare dinners, to host parties, to send out Christmas cards. This madness is the furthest possible thing from waiting; it seems, instead, like racing.
But, if we let the readings for this first week of Advent grab our attention for a few moments, I think we’ll see that the impression of Advent as a sort of liturgical waiting room is inaccurate. And they certainly don’t advocate for Advent to be a time consumed in buying the latest and the greatest new gadgets. Instead, today’s scriptures point out that we need to be engaged in different sorts of activities
Source: Bondings 2.0
Criminal justice reform is vital, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said today, as he urged employers to ‘ban the box’ that bars many ex-offenders from finding employment after prison.
Nichols was speaking at a press conference following the Autumn 2016 meeting of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales.
Most job application forms will feature a ‘tick box’ inviting applicants to indicate whether they have committed any criminal offences. However, ticking this box almost always results in an applicant not being considered further for the post.
Challenging this practice, the Rt Rev Richard Moth, lead bishop for prisons, said in a video message: “We as bishops call for the removal of such tick boxes. Such action would not make work places unsafe. It would, however, make possible a conversation for all job applicants, a conversation that for the ex-offender, could lead to employment, and the road away from a life of potential re-offending.”
Pope Francis is firing back at foes of his efforts to make the Catholic church more open and pastoral in its ministry, telling an interviewer that “they are acting in bad faith to foment divisions.”
The pontiff’s lengthy interview in Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian hierarchy, was published Friday and followed days of news coverage of demands by four hard-line cardinals who have grave concerns about Francis’ approach.
The four say that focusing on ministering to people in their particular circumstances is eroding the church’s doctrinal absolutes and that Francis must dispel any ambiguities or face serious consequences.
The four critics, led by U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, a Rome-based prelate and longtime opponent of the pontiff’s policies, had written privately to Francis in September.
Source: National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis’ top official for marriage and family issues criticized his U.S. colleagues this week for their failure to engage the pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia during their meeting. His criticism comes as larger questions are raised anew about the ongoing divide between bishops in the U.S. and the pope, and what the bishops’ direction will be these next few years.
Archbishop Kevin Farrell, the cardinal-designate tasked with leading the Vatican’s new Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, made his remarks during the fall meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this week.
Source: – Bondings 2.0