Saturday, August 24, 2013

Future Bishops and Popes: How Much Authority?

crozierPope Francis is contemplating a major reworking of the top-level administrative machinery of the Church. Commentators sometimes describe this as “reforming the Roman Curia,” but if the Pope’s own words–together with public and private proposals intended to influence the result–are any indication, the project could extend far beyond  reshuffling dicasteries and straightening out the affairs of the Institute for the Works of Religion (the Vatican bank).
In all cases, “collegiality” is said to be both the working principle and the objective of  reform. The word refers to the doctrine, revived by Vatican Council II, that the bishops share in teaching and governing the universal Church in union with the pope. The question that obviously raises is how it’s to be done.
One answer, a conservative one, is that diocesan bishops make their most important contribution to collegial governance by teaching and governing their own dioceses well. But although collegiality in that sense is essential, it is no less clear that the collegial principle extends to some form of collective participation in teaching and governing the entire Church. Ecumenical councils are conspicuous examples.
The world Synod of Bishops, a Vatican II innovation, was intended as yet another instrument of collegiality. But although the synod has occupied an honorable place in ecclesial life for 40-plus years, its role so far has been confined to advising the pope on questions he selects rather than sharing in the actual making of decisions.

So where does collegiality go from here? 
Enter Pope Francis’ project and the maneuvering now underway.

In general terms, there currently are two different approaches on the table. One points to a large scale decentralization of authority, the other, as might be expected, toward dramatic centralization. Advocates of each cite the principle of collegiality as their rationale.
Under the decentralization model, diocesan bishops and, especially, national conferences of bishops would have much greater authority for decision-making than they do now.
Liberals tend to favor that. This is partly out of concern for collegiality and partly because they see it as a way to realize such long-sought goals of theirs as married priests, communion for the divorced and remarried, a more permissive approach to questions of sexual morality, and in the long run perhaps even the ordination of women.
By contrast, some conservatives favor more centralization–and, paradoxically, for the sake of the collegiality principle.

One such plan would call for the creation of a permanent, synod-like representative body in Rome, its members nominated by the world’s bishops and selected by the Pope. Acting in union with the pontiff, and never apart from him, it would have the power to make doctrinal and disciplinary decisions for the worldwide  Church. Its advantage is said to lie in being an authentic embodiment of collegiality that involves no diminution of papal primacy while responding to the need of the universal Church for speedy decision-making and unimpaired cohesiveness in an era of instantaneous communication and globalization.
From October 1 to 3 Pope Francis will meet for the first time with the special council of eight cardinals that he has established to advise him on these matters. (Cardinal Sean O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., of Boston is one of the eight.) While this will be the group’s first face-to-face meeting, the Pope and the eight are presumed to have been in frequent contact and have already spent much time mulling ideas like those sketched here.

Catholics everywhere should be paying close attention
The results could be of huge importance for the future of the Church.

 by Russell Shaw

We know that Jesus promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against the Church. We trust in this. We know the camp is already divided on those that say this is a good pope and this is the bad pope. We know that IF he's the bad pope that all his evil will initially be masked well to deceive 'even the elect'. There is no way now to determine what these proposed new changes will bring; but we must remember that nothing can happen without Jesus permitting it and if He permits it, He's got it covered!! We also know that in the end times, the Church will follow her Master. I believe the Passion has already begun and perhaps the Crucifixion is not far off ... but all that means is that the RESURRECTION IS THAT MUCH CLOSER!! So, whether you like this pope or not, whether the changes that come in the Church will be good or bad; know with certainty that God truly IS in control and certain things must pass for prophecy to be fulfilled. Jesus did not shirk from any suffering, He accepted and bore all for love of us, can we do any less for Him? SO! ~~ If these changes are bad for the Church, blessed be God ... if these changes are good for the Church, blessed be God!! PRAY, TRUST & try not to WORRY!! ~Mary

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