| by Rosemary Tackes | November 4, 2013 | CCMT |
Janet Hauter, Chairwomen of the American Catholic Council had this to say about the opportunity to lend our voices to the dialogue.
“Francis is brilliantly plowing the field and dropping in the seeds through his media comments to build a circle of influence that would be hard to resist against before any major liturgical, institutional change is brought forward. Those seeds are to be watered, nourished and cultivated by US! If we wait for Francis to complete all the reform, he would be hundreds of years old and we would all be dead. THIS IS OUR MOMENT! Too many want to see Francis do it all. That is downright IMPOSSIBLE! Remember: the clerical culture fears our potential, yet to be exercised, power and Francis is building support outside that culture. If that isn’t brilliant, I can’t imagine what would be. We simply need to continue to step out of our cocoons to celebrate those statements publicly and ignite the LISTENING ASSEMBLIES to fuel the potential of the laity to rise up!!!
As leaders in the reform movement, we have the responsibility to get that momentum started which will take off like a forest fire if we all do our share in our own local venues.”
On October 18th the Vatican sent the “Questionnaire” that so many of us are talking about to the Bishops of the World. The word “on the street” is that the American Bishops will not ask for the input of the laity on these questions. If that is true then it is up to us to follow Janet’s suggestion and put together our own “Listening Assemblies” to respond and provide feedback to the Vatican.
In hopes that the word “on the street” is not correct, we have sent a letter to our local bishop asking for the opportunity to come together in our parishes to discuss this questionnaire and provide our responses. Here we share the content of our letter:
Dear Bishop Thomas,
In light of the recent survey distributed to the Bishops of the World from the Vatican, we join with the Baptized People of God across the United States who are fervently hoping that our bishops will heed the call of Pope Francis and the Vatican and will genuinely solicit within their dioceses input from all the Baptized on these critical questions.
The Bishops of England and Wales have taken the courageous step of placing this questionnaire online, requesting all of the People of God within their dioceses to participate in responding.
It is our hope that you will consider distributing this Questionnaire widely within the Helena diocese. This is an opportunity to engage all of the Baptized People of God. Please encourage your pastors to hold “Listening Sessions” to respond to the questions within each parish so that the wisdom of the faithful in our diocese can be fully communicated to the Synod scheduled to be held October 2014.
We base our hope that you will respond to the Vatican’s request for input regarding this questionnaire on your recent article in the Montana Catholic “Vatican II and the Laity”. In that article you remind us of our “shared responsibility”. Mindful of the need for collaboration, consultation and cooperation, we strongly want to participate in the life of the church. This is an opportunity, solicited directly from the Vatican, to do just that!
Hopefully we remain in faith,
Concerned Catholics of Montana
Attachment: SYNOD OF BISHOPS QUESTIONNAIRE