Day: October 7, 2018

October 7, 2018

A Homily that Heals

It is Sunday in Rome. The streets are crowded with smiling tourists quietly strolling hand in hand while window shopping or eating gelato. Children are laughing and miniature terriers pull at the leashes that tether them to their owners. The homeless sit along the edges with their paper cups waiting for just one generous heart. The street musicians ply visitors with their sweet melodies.

With GPS in hand, I made my way to Mass at the Caravita Community.

Caravita is an English speaking community with a special outreach to travelers. Tourists, ambassadors, prelates, journalists, religious, educators =- a whole host of Catholics — join together each week for the Eucharist.

My friend, occasional collaborator, and former FutureChurch intern, Luke Hansen, SJ, presided today. Newly assigned as an associate at Caravita, this was his inaugural Mass in this community.

Luke has been generous in sharing his journey to the priesthood. And he has been generous in his work for women’s full participation in the Church. I have watched him navigate structures rooted in patriarchy and have been in awe of his relentless struggle for integrity, as well as, his courage, skill, and insight.

So, as I sat there watching him break bread with this community, I felt a kind of pride swell up — the kind of pride that I imagine his own mother feels seeing her son become such an exceptional human being.

Still, it was his homily that surprised me.

I expected it to be good, but it went beyond that. Luke touched my sixty-two year old heart with its bruises and wounds and gave me solace in the way that I did not expect. Tears of gratitude, grief, and joy rolled down my cheeks as he spoke clearly, uncompromisingly, and compassionately to my own experience of loss and divorce, as well as to my pain of being a woman in a Church and world that still assigns men greater value than women.

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Homily: Luke Hansen
7 October 2018
Caravita, Rome

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Gen 2:18-24; Ps 128:1-6; Heb 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16

The social and religious conflicts today about the relationship between men and women, and marriage, divorce and remarriage, are not new. Today’s readings touch on several contested questions: Do the creation narratives demand patriarchy and heterosexuality, or point to human companionship characterized by equality and justice? Are women created as inferior “helpmates” to men, or equal partners in personal and social relationships? And in what circumstances is divorce permitted?

These questions relate to contemporary debates and personal experiences that shape our perspective and inform our convictions: We know divorce, its complexity, the great pain it causes, but also that it can help bring about greater safety and/or be the beginning of healing. We have gay friends: some are married or seek marriage. We know that personal and social relationships between men and women continue to be unequal: not just in some cultures but in every culture. We know about the abuse and exploitation of women, in society and the church.

It is why we have the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and religious women marching in India and women demonstrating at the Vatican and religious women leading the way in eradicating the contemporary slavery of sex trafficking.

In this context, how do we hear the Word proclaimed today? What is the social and religious context of this Gospel story? What is going on in this debate between Jesus and the Pharisees? (It is one of many debates, by the way, with serious consequences for women, where the only participants are men.)

In the first century, under Roman role, Jewish society was changing quickly, and this affected the interpretation of biblical laws. One of these contested issues was divorce. What was at stake was membership in the covenant community.

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees press Jesus in order to test him. They want to force him to take a side. They wanted to know: Under what conditions is divorce permissible? Some argued: only if the woman is unfaithful. But others had a more permissive view: if the woman “spoils a dish,” or the man finds a more beautiful woman.

How did Jesus respond? Jesus challenges the Mosaic law (Dt 24:1-4), saying it resulted from human frailty or “hardness of heart.” For Jesus, it is not enough to quote the ancient law, and to engage in endless debates about particular circumstances, but one must go deeper. The fidelity of a follower of Christ goes beyond what is legal or not.

So what is God’s intention for relationships? Jesus invites us to look to creation itself. Men and women were created in love, in the image of God. We are created for communion, relationship. The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.”We are created as equals: “bone of my bones” and “flesh of my flesh.” We are meant for just relationships not only with other human beings but with all of creation. For partnership with human beings, “God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air.”

God’s intention is not broken relationships. God’s intention is for fidelity, love, commitment. And when relationships break: God’s intention is for healing and reconciliation, whenever it is possible.

With this focus, Jesus characteristically shows attention to those who are most vulnerable to abuses of power. According to Jewish law, only men could initiate divorce. For Jesus, however, a man cannot simply divorce his wife and remarry. In fact, in doing so, he “commits adultery against her.” She is a person with dignity. She cannot be disposed of. She has a claim. Jesus puts an end to a double standard. The woman is not a possession but a partner.Jesus upholds the original equality of men and women and the belief that they become “one” in marriage.

In Genesis, the man names the woman. In doing so, he is exercising power over her. Today women are doing the naming. They are naming what they see: patriarchy, sexism, abuse of power.

We need a new paradigm. In engaging with these complex questions, we need a church that listens, especially to the experiences of women. Jesus reminds us that we cannot simply debate and apply ancient law. Jesus calls us to what is most fundamental: men and women created equal and meant for love and fidelity.
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I left Caravita a little lighter and with a renewed sense that the Church can be a place of healing and wholeness for women, for LGBTQI people, for those who have suffered through a divorce, and for all who have been shamed, shunned, and excluded.

There are priests who serve and who, today, heal the broken-hearted. That is the Good News.

I’ll be back at the Vatican Press office tomorrow sharing the happenings at the synod with you.

Reporting from Rome
Deborah Rose-Milavec

October 6, 2018

Who’s Who at the Synod; The Pope Parties; Catholics in THE CLE say “Time’s Up”

I know I can be a geek when it comes to details and process. I love getting underneath the generalities, deep into the particulars. I want to know — who said what — who really cares — who is clueless — who is arrogant — who is hard hearted, etc. You get my drift. I love understanding the particulars of the people chosen because it makes all difference.

In the case of Archbishop Charles Chaput, for instance, it matters that he has so much authority as one of the members of the permanent planning council. You may remember that he was surprisingly rebuked by Cardinal Baldisseri, head of the Synod of Bishops, for criticizing the working document, the Instrumentum Laboris when according to Baldisseri, he had plenty of chances to influence the language.

Beyond that, Abp.Chaput is a blustery voice for cultural conservatives in the U.S. and abroad. He is skilled and sleek in his delivery, but his message is anathema to the message of a radically loving and welcoming Jesus and to the God Jesus knew so well.

New Ways Ministry, always one of the best news sources when parsing and interpreting Vatican-speak or bishop-speak on everything LGBTQI, was clear about the damage done to LGBTQI Catholics by bishops like Archbishop Chaput. And while I certainly could be reading too much into the reporting, these days even sources like Catholic News Service seem to be furrowing their brow at some of his harsh rhetoric, so out of step with the wide-armed, welcoming Francis.

In Abp.Chaput’s intervention at the Synod he made a couple of knuckle busting generalizations:

1.) Youth are in trouble because adults are lazy.

The elders of the faith community have the task of passing the truth of the Gospel from age to age, undamaged by compromise or deformation. Yet too often my generation of leaders, in our families and in the Church, has abdicated that responsibility out of a combination of ignorance, cowardice and laziness in forming young people to carry the faith into the future. Shaping young lives is hard work in the face of a hostile culture. 

2.) The Church has it right when it comes to defining sexuality, individuals, and groups.

. . . what the Church holds to be true about human sexuality is not a stumbling block. It is the only real path to joy and wholeness. There is no such thing as an “LGBTQ Catholic” or a “transgender Catholic” or a “heterosexual Catholic”, as if our sexual appetites defined who we are…

While it could be said that the archbishop is part of the “listening church,” it seems truer that he listens so he can correct, a position taken by too many prelates who imagine that wisdom, teaching, and the heart of the Holy Spirit only flows in one direction — from the top down.

It will be interesting to see who joins the archbishop in his small group. At the 2015 Family Synod, auditor Sr. Maureen Kelleher was part of his small group and described a difficult experience with dismissive prelates who proffered “condescension so heavy, you could cut it with a knife.”

It looks like Catholic youth, adults, and LGBTQI Catholics will be getting more of the same this year from his quarter.

Who’s Who at the Synod

I am grateful to Luke Hansen, SJ, whose appreciation for detail is so helpful for all of us who want to understand who is in the synod hall and who is debating the future of the Church.

Voting Members

Voting Members from the USA (12)

  • Auxiliary Bishop Robert BARRON (Los Angeles)
  • Bishop Frank J. CAGGIANO (Bridgeport)
  • Archbishop Charles Joseph CHAPUT, O.F.M. Cap. (Philadelphia)
  • Cardinal Blase J. CUPICH (Chicago)
  • Cardinal Daniel N. DiNARDO (Galveston-Houston)
  • Cardinal Kevin Joseph FARRELL, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
  • Archbishop José GÓMEZ (Los Angeles)
  • Brother Robert SCHIELER, F.S.C., Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (Lasalians, De La Salle Brothers)
  • Father Robert STARK, S.S.S., Director of the Office for Social Ministry (Honolulu)
  • Cardinal Joseph W. TOBIN, C.SS.R. (Newark)
  • Metropolitan Archbishop William Charles SKURLA of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, President of the Council of the Ruthenian Byzantine Church (born in Duluth, based in Pittsburgh)
  • Bishop Abdallah Elias ZAIDAN of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles of the Maronite Church (born in Lebanon, based in St. Louis)

Voting Jesuits (9)

  • (Special Secretary) Father Giacomo COSTA, S.J., Director of the journal Aggiornamenti Sociali, President of the Fondazione Culturale San Fedele, Vice President of the Fondazione Carlo Maria Martini(Italia)
  • (Secretary of the Commission for Information) Father Antonio SPADARO, S.J., Director of the journal La Civiltà Cattolica(Italia)
  • Cardinal Luis LADARIA FERRER, S.J., Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  • Metropolitan Archbishop Ján BABJAK, S.J. (Prešov, Slovakia) of the Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church
  • Archbishop Joseph ATANGA, S.J. (Bertoua, Cameroon)
  • Archbishop Alojzij CVIKL, S.J. (Maribor, Slovenia)
  • Archbishop Jean-Claude HOLLERICH, S.J. (Luxembourg)
  • Father Arturo SOSA ABASCAL, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus
  • Father Michael CZERNY, S.J., Undersecretary of the Section on Migrants and Refugees in the Dicastery for Integral Human Development (Vatican City)

Voting Brothers (Non-Ordained) (2)

  • Brother Ernesto SÁNCHEZ BARBA, F.M.S., Superior General of the Marist Brothers of Schools (Little Brothers of Mary) (Mexico)
  • Brother Robert Irvin SCHIELER, F.S.C., Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (Lasalians, De La Salle Brothers) (USA)

Other Notable Voters

  • Cardinal Oswald GRACIAS (Bombay, India), President of the Indian Bishops’ Conference
  • Cardinal Reinhard MARX (Munich und Freising, Germany), President of the German Bishops’ Conference
  • Cardinal Oscar RODRÍGUEZ MARADIAGA, S.D.B. (Tegucigalpa, Honduras), coordinator of the Council of Cardinals (C9)
  • Cardinal Christoph SCHÖNBORN, O.P. (Vienna, Austria), President of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference
  • Cardinal Luis Antonio G. TAGLE (Manila, Philippines)
  • Cardinal Peter TURKSON, Prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development (Vatican City)
  • Archbishop Matteo ZUPPI (Bologna, Italia), wrote the forward to the revised and updated Building a Bridgeby James Martin

Non-Voting Participants

Non-Voting Jesuits

(Collaborators of the Special Secretary)

  • Father Carlo CASALONE, S.J., Member of the scientific section of the Pontifical Academy for Life (Italy)
  • Father Juan Pablo HERNÁNDEZ DI TOMASO, S.J., Director of the Association Pietre vive(Spain)

(Auditors)

  • Father Juan Jorge BYTTON ARELLANO, S.J., Chaplain of the Catholic University and consultor of the Bishops’ Conference for the young (Peru)

(Members of the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops)

  • Father Raffaele LANZILLI, S.J., assistant for Christian Life Communities (lanzilli.r@gesuiti.it)
  • Father Pablo MORA, S.J., Collaborator in formation and pastoral methods of Red Eclesial Panamazónica (REPAM), lives in Puerto Maldonado (Peruvian Amazon) (pamome2009@hotmail.com)

Non-Voting USA Auditors

  • Sister Sally HODGDON, C.S.J., Superior General of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery (the US Province is located in West Hartford, Connecticut), Vice President of the Executive Committee of the UISG

http://www.internationalunionsuperiorsgeneral.org/uisg-board-2016-2019/ https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/515/article/their-hairdresser-knows

  • Mr. Jonathan LEWIS. The Vatican lists him as the Assistant Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington, but the Archdiocesan website says he is the Executive Director of Evangelization, Young Adult Ministry, and Chaplaincies.

https://adw.org/archdiocesan-offices/office-young-adult-ministry/

Catholic U alumni spotlight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmm0PSbzY4w

  • Father Robert PANKE, Rector of the St. John Paul II Seminary (Washington, DC), Director of Clergy Formation, Archdiocese of Washington

http://business.cua.edu/Board/Panke.cfm

https://dcpriest.org/people/rev-msgr-robert-panke

  • Sister Briana SANTIAGO, a member of the Apostles of the Interior Life and a student at the Pontifical University of St. John Lateran in Rome. She participated in the pre-Synod meeting for young people in March. She was born in San Antonio and graduated from Texas A&M University (2013) with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Italian.

http://www.apostlesofil.com/vocations/meet-someone-in-discernment/briana

https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2018/03/24/0219/00476.html#santia

  • Ms. Yadira VIEYRA, immigration research specialist (Early Childhood Projects) in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She is a graduate of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (Chicago, 2007) and Georgetown University (2011) where she majored in both Psychology and Theology and minored in Women and Gender Studies.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/yadira-vieyra-9a56195a

(Assistant of the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops)

  • Fr. Russell WARD, L.C., a member of the Legion of Christ and (at least according to Facebook) the Dean of Students at the Sacred Heart Apostolic School in Rolling Prairie, Indiana

https://www.facebook.com/people/Russell-Ward-LC/100009323751412

(Fraternal Delegate of the Ecumenical Patriarch)

  • His Eminence Metropolitan NIKITAS (Lulias) of the Dardanelles(born in Tampa), a member of the faculty of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, an affiliate of the Graduate Theology Union in Berkeley, California

http://dev.orthodoxinstitute.org/about/faculty-and-staff/

https://www.patriarchate.org/metropolitans-archbishops-of-the-throne1/-/asset_publisher/H5JGSUHYL54F/content/dardanellion-k-niketas

Non-Voting Notables

(Collaborator of the Special Secretary)

  • Dr. Filipe ALVES DOMINGUES, journalist and doctoral student in social science at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (Brazil)

(Collaborator of the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops)

  • Deacon Guido AMARI (Great Britain), the only deacon on the Synod roster

Non-Voting Women (36 total)

23 Sig.a

8 Rev.da Suora (Sisters)

2 Dott.ssa

2 Prof.ssa

1 Rev. (WCC delegate)

(Collaborators of the Special Secretary) (4)

  • Ms. Margherita ANSELMI, Membro dell’Azione Cattolica Italiana, Libero Professionista Progettista sociale (Italia)
  • Sister María Luisa BERZOSA GONZÁLEZ, F.I., Scuola cattolica ed educazione popolare, Direttrice di “Fe y alegría” (Spagna)
  • Professor Cecilia COSTA, Docente di Sociologia presso l’Università Roma Tre (Italia)
  • Professor Chiara GIACCARDI, Docente di Sociologia e processi culturali e comunicativi presso l’Università Cattolica di Milano (Italia)

(Auditors) (25)

  • Ms. Federica ANCONA, Associazione “Nuovi Orizzonti” (Italia)
  • Sister Nathalie BECQUART, Ex-Direttrice del Servizio nazionale per l’Evangelizzazione dei giovani e per le vocazioni della Conferenza Episcopale Francese (Francia)
  • Ms. Emilie CALLAN, Membro della Fondazione cattolica Salt and Light Catholic Television Network(Canada)
  • Ms. Henriette CAMARA, Membro degli Scout cattolici (Guinea)
  • Sister Chaoying (Suor Teresina) CHENG, Studentessa di Teologia, Collegio Missionario “Mater Ecclesiae” di Castel Gandolfo, Suora della Madre del Signore di Daming-Hebei (Cina)
  • Ms. Carina Iris ROSSA, Membro del Consiglio Direttivo della Fondazione Pontificia Scholas Occurrentes (Argentina)
  • Sister Sally Marie HODGDON, Superiora Generale delle Suore di San Giuseppe di Chambéry, Vice Presidente del Comitato Esecutivo della UISG (Stati Uniti d’America)
  • Ms. Anastasia INDRAWAN, Membro della Commissione per i Giovani della Conferenza Episcopale (Indonesia)
  • Ms. Marie Joannie Ornella JEAN-PIERRE, Operatrice di pastorale giovanile, Conferenza Episcopale dell’Oceano Indiano (Maurizio)
  • Ms. Desfortunées KUISSUK FEUPEUSSI, Membro del gruppo di giovani di Douala, Comunità Emmanuel (Camerun)
  • Sister Mina KWON, Congregazione delle Suore di San Paolo di Chartres – Direttrice e counselor presso la Catholic University di Daegu, responsabile delle Juniores della Provincia religiosa di Daegu (Corea)
  • Ms. Marguerite-Marie LE HODEY, Membro dell’Associazione Mondiale delle Imprese Familiari – FBN (Belgio)
  • Ms. Merveille MANTANTU VITA, Operatrice di pastorale giovanile, Conferenza Episcopale (Rep. Democratica del Congo)
  • Ms. Cherylanne MENEZES, Responsabile della Comunità del Movimento dei Focolari a Mumbai (India).
  • Ms. Corina Fiore MORTOLA RODRÍGUEZ, Docente di Canto per Teatro Musicale, Guadalajara (Messico)
  • Sister Lucy Muthoni NDERI, F.M.A., Operatrice pastorale per giovani in difficoltà sociale e bambini di strada, educatrice in casa famiglia (Kenya)
  • Ms. Nicole Anne C. PEREZ, Giovane impegnata nella catechesi (Filippine)
  • Ms. Oksana PIMENOVA, Segretaria del Comitato esecutivo degli Incontri giovanili nell’Arcidiocesi di Madre di Dio a Mosca (Federazione Russa).
  • Ms. Tahiry Malala Marion Sophie RAKOTOROALAHY, Presidente Nazionale degli Studenti Cattolici (Madagascar).
  • Ms. Silvia Teresa RETAMALES MORALES, Membro dell’Osservatorio Socio-Pastorale dei Giovani (Cile).
  • Ms. María José ROJAS TROCELLIS, Direttrice Esecutiva del Dipartimento Adolescenti e Giovani della Conferenza Episcopale (Venezuela)
  • Sister Briana Regina SANTIAGO, Apostole della Vita Interiore (Stati Uniti d’America)
  • Sister Alessandra SMERILLI, Docente di Economia presso la Pontificia Facoltà di Scienze dell’Educazione Auxilium; Membro del Comitato scientifico e organizzatore delle settimane sociali dei cattolici – CEI (Italia).
  • Ms. Yadira VIEYRA, Ricercatrice e Assistente per famiglie immigrate (Stati Uniti d’America)
  • Ms. Viktòria ŽOLNOVÀ, Group leader and volunteer for youth (Slovacchia)

(Members of the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops) (3)

  • Ms. Paola VOLTERRA TOPPANO
  • Dr. Federica VIVIAN
  • Dr. Cristiane MURRAY

(Collaborators of the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops) (2)

  • Ms. Cristina CELDRÁN ALCOBAS, Conferenza Episcopale Spagnola (Spagna)
  • Ms. Allyson KENNY, Salt and Light Catholic Television Network(Canada)

(Fraternal Delegate of the Lutheran World Federation) (1)

  • Ms. Julia BRABAND, Membro del Comitato dei Giovani della LWF del Comitato nazionale tedesco (Germania)

(Fraternal Delegate of the World Council of Churches) (1)

  • Rev. Martina Viktorie KOPECKÁ, Member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, Chairperson of the ECHOS Commission on Youth for the World Council of Churches, member of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church (Czech Republic)

http://blog.oikoumene.org/authors_view?id=martina

https://www.oikoumene.org/en/about-us/organizational-structure/central-committee/members/kopecka

Other Notes

“Synod Fathers” who are not bishops: 16 priests, 8 superior generals, 8 papal nominees, and 2 brothers (both superior generals). The papal nominees include Fr. Robert Stark (Honolulu) and three Jesuits (Giacomo Costa, Antonio Spadaro, and Michael Czerny). Arturo Sosa is among the superior generals.

Auditors: 25 men (6 priests, 19 lay) and 25 women (7 sisters, 18 others)

Complete list of the Synod members and participants: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2018/09/15/0644/01374.html

I will return to this list and other lists, along the way, especially as we hear particular interventions and contributions. But for now, peruse away!

The Pope Parties

Pope Francis met with young people yesterday for a big party at Paul VI hall. Here is a link to some video from Vatican News.

No matter how short he falls in terms of policy for those excluded from the Church, my heart just bursts with the beauty of witnessing how he is loved and how he enjoys and loves others.

“Time’s Up” in THE CLE

Back at the ranch, associate director Russ Petrus is leading another band of reformers. Catholics from the Cleveland Diocese came out to pray and demonstrate for victims and survivors of clergy sex abuse, and to continue to hold our leaders accountable for covering up that abuse. Here’s his report.

__________________________________

Rain couldn’t keep a small, but passionate, group of some of Cleveland’s bravest Church reformers from turning out at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist to pray for justice for victim-survivors of clergy abuse, transparency from the hierarchy, accountability for abusers and those who covered up abuse, as well as desperately needed reforms to dismantle both clericalism and patriarchy. As the prayer service began with the opening song, Christ Be Our Light, the rain stopped and the clouds scattered, giving way to bright sunshine – a sure reminder that God was with them and listening as they lifted up their prayers and hopes for a more just, healthier and holier Church. A powerful witness, the group raised their hand in blessing over the cathedral – as a sign of the entire Church in Cleveland – and prayed:

O God of compassion, open our ears, to hear and respond with love to the anguished cries of victim-survivors of clergy sex abuse.        

O God of vision, open our eyes, to see clearly the systems and structures that that sustain injustice and envision a bold way forward to becoming your Holy People. 

O God of truth, open our lips, to speak the truth to all and especially to power — plainly and without impediment: the truth about clergy sex abuse, about the cover up, about our experience. 

O God of creation, open our hands, to courageously take up the difficult, prophetic work you set before us and work to build your reign of truth, justice, and love. 

The prayer service in Cleveland is part of a nationwide effort, “Time’s Up: Catholics Demand Truth,” sponsored by several Church reform organizations including FutureChurch. The groups are organizing and supporting similar prayer vigils and protests in cities throughout the country on the first weekend of each month September through February, when the presidents of each of the world’s national conferences of bishops will gather in Rome to meet with Pope Francis.

To learn more about the effort, to find other witnesses, or to download a kit to organize your own witness, visit www.catholictoo.org.  ~ Russ Petrus

That is it for Saturday. Everyday is a gift because of Catholics like you.  Please remember to support this work in whatever way you can.

Reporting from Rome

Deborah Rose-Milavec