Two very different kinds of leadership. This is what we have seen dramatically highlighted through the events in our country over the past ten days.
In the Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius asks us to reflect on the opposing leadership strategies of Christ versus that of Lucifer. He paints a graphic and metaphoric picture of Lucifer seated in that great plain of Babylon, on a throne of fire and smoke, a horrible and fearsome figure. He uses three strategies to ensnare people: the desire for riches, the desire for honour or status and pride. Once they are hooked by any, or all of these, they will do whatever they need to in order to protect them, whether lies, corruption, theft or manipulation of people.
In the second image we are invited to imagine Christ standing in a great plain in a lowly beautiful and attractive spot. His strategy is the exact opposite: simplicity instead of riches, service instead of honour, and humility instead of pride.
In our political landscape we have seen both kinds of leadership clearly in the last week.
CATHOLIC WOMEN CONFRONT THEIR CHURCH: STORIES OF HURT AND HOPE
By Celia Viggo Wexler Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 216 pages, $34
The central question explored in Celia Viggo Wexler‘s engaging and thought-provoking book is one that no doubt many millions of women have struggled with: Is it possible for a woman to be both a feminist and a Catholic?
For Wexler, an award-winning journalist and Huffington Post blogger, this is not an academic question. She had reached a juncture in which she had to “find a way to stay Catholic that made sense to me and respected my intellect and feminism, or I would have to leave the church.”
Source: National Catholic Reporter
There is abundant evidence that homophobia kills, directly (as in hate crime murders) and indirectly (as in driving the victims to suicide). As with all forms of hatred, what begin as thoughtless or careless language acquired at school, can mutate into something much more serious in later life. Conversely, good habits acquired when young, can prepare people for sound, healthy attitudes and behaviour as adults. This is why for several years, Stonewall has been running an established, highly effective program in schools, training staff in the importance of countering homophobia in school, and giving them tools and resources to do so effectively.
Further, the evidence from Stonewall’s schools research is that in general, pupils and staff believe that the problems are greater in faith schools than in their secular counterparts. For Catholics, this is a sad indictment on the failure of some schools (not all) to properly apply standard Church teaching, which is clear the obligation that “all forms of violence or malice, in speech or in action”, must be opposed. Teaching also insists that homosexual persons must be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”.
This is why I and three other members of Quest met with Stonewall in London yesterday, for the first of two day’s training in how to take the standard Stonewall training on countering homophobia, into faith schools specifically. Today we will be back to continue the training. Next week, three more Quest members will do the same training with Stonewall in Manchester.
By March, we expect to begin visiting schools, delivering the training to those at the coalface.
Free teacher training for schools with a faith character (Stonewall sign up page)
It is time for the Catholic bishops to stop hoping for an increase in vocations to the celibate priesthood and to acknowledge that the church needs married priests to serve the people of God. We cannot have a Catholic Church without sacraments, and a priest is needed for the Eucharist, confession, and anointing.
At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me,” not “have a celibate priesthood.” The need for the Eucharist trumps having a celibate priesthood.
For at least 50 years, the Catholic Church in the United States has seen a drop in the number of priests. According to CARA reports, in 1970, there were 59,192 priests in the U.S.; by 2016, there were only 37,192. Meanwhile, the number of Catholics increased to 74.2 million from 51 million. That means the people/priest ratio grew from 861 Catholics per priest in 1970 to 1,995 per priest in 2016. These numbers include all priests both religious and diocesan, as well as retired priests. When the priests currently over 65 years of age die, these numbers will be even worse.
It is time for the Catholic bishops to stop hoping for an increase in vocations to the celibate priesthood and to acknowledge that the church needs married priests to serve the people of God. We cannot have a Catholic Church without sacraments, and a priest is needed for the Eucharist, confession, and anointing. At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me,” not “have a celibate priesthood.” The need for the Eucharist trumps having a celibate priesthood. For at least 50 years, the Catholic Chur
Source: National Catholic Reporter
As the United States engages in fierce debates over refugee resettlement, its role on the global stage and the implications of electing an anti-establishment president, similar scenes are unfolding across Europe, where populist political leaders are gaining traction and borders are tightening up.
The head of the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, says one way to combat “a corruption of the democratic system” that he believes can accompany this strain of politics is for politicians to model their rhetoric on that of another European leader, Pope Francis.
“The biggest challenge in political leadership is not to play to people’s fear but to genuinely appeal to what is best in them and to lead from what is best, not from what is worst,” the cardinal told America.
Source: America Magazine
At a meeting of grassroots activists, faith-based organizers, farm workers, undocumented immigrants, clergy, and several bishops held in Modesto, California, last week, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy gave the most powerful and timely address I’ve ever heard from a Catholic leader.
Appointed by Pope Francis to lead the San Diego diocese last spring, McElroy has quickly emerged as one of the most respected intellectual leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States with his incisive essays and speeches on immigration, inequality, the threat of white nationalism, and the church’s obligation to confront Islamophobia. During one session at the Modesto meeting, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, jokingly but accurately called McElroy “the brains” of the U.S. episcopacy. Along with other “Francis bishops” like Cardinal Blase Cupich in Chicago, McElroy is also at the forefront of pushing the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops—in recent years most focused on fighting same-sex marriage and contraception coverage—to demonstrate greater institutional commitment to the breadth of Catholic social teaching and the pope’s priorities as they relate to poverty, inequality, and climate change.
Source: =Commonweal Magazine
On August 2, 2016, Pope Francis instituted a commission to study the history of the female diaconate, for the purpose of its possible restoration. And some have seen this as a first step toward priesthood for women, in spite of the fact that Francis himself seems to have ruled it out absolutely, responding as follows to a question on the return flight from his journey to Sweden last November 1 (in the photo, his embrace with Swedish Lutheran archbishop Antje Jackelen):
“For the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the last clear word was given by Saint John Paul II, and this holds.”
But to read the latest issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” the question of women priests appears to be anything but closed. On the contrary, wide open.
“La Civiltà Cattolica” is not just any magazine. By statute, every line of it is printed after inspection by the Holy See. But in addition there is the very close confidential relationship between Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the magazine’s editor, the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro.
Source: – L’Espresso