Cracks in the Church: Signs of a New Springtime?


Cracks let in fresh air and sunshine and generate new life

Some hopeful cracks that appeared this past week:

Over one hundred Catholic theologians have called for radical reforms in the Catholic Church.

Around a third of all Catholic theology professors at universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, have called for reforms in the Catholic Church. In their petition entitled “The Church 2011: an indispensable renewal”, which is accessible via the Internet site of the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, these 143 theologians have also called for the ordination of women, and for the Church’s acceptance of homosexual partners.  They also demand participation of the faithful in the nomination of bishops and an end to the “moral rigidity” of the Church. There hasn’t been a comparable revolt by theologians since 1989 when more than 220 academics signed the “Cologne Declaration,” which protested against the authoritarian leadership style of the late Pope, John Paul II.
Ohio Catholic bishops seek to end death penalty
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati and Bishop Frederick Campbell of Columbus are among 10 Catholic church leaders in Ohio who have signed a statement urging the state to stop using the death penalty, weeks after an Ohio Supreme Court justice issued the same call.
An Open Letter to the U.S. Catholic Bishops on the Forthcoming Missal
With a heavy heart, I have recently made a difficult decision concerning the new English missal. I have decided to withdraw from all my upcoming speaking engagements on the Roman Missal in dioceses across the United States….The forthcoming missal is but a part of a larger pattern of top-down impositions by a central authority that does not consider itself accountable to the larger church. When I think of how secretive the translation process was, how little consultation was done with priests or laity, how the Holy See allowed a small group to hijack the translation at the final stage, how unsatisfactory the final text is, how this text was imposed on national conferences of bishops in violation of their legitimate episcopal authority, how much deception and mischief have marked this process—and then when I think of Our Lord’s teachings on service and love and unity…I weep. —-  Anthony Ruff, O.S.B., is a Benedictine monk of Saint John’s Abbey and a professor of liturgy and Gregorian chant. He was on the committee which drafted the 2007 document “Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship” for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
AND THIS AS WELL………Irish priests seek to delay use of new liturgical translation
A large group of Irish priests has called upon that country’s bishops to delay implementation of the new Roman Missal, which is scheduled to go into use in November, on the 1st Sunday of Advent. The Association of Catholic Priests, which was formed last year to work for changes in Church teaching and discipline, said that the new translation for Eucharistic liturgies, which adheres more closely to the Latin original, is “archaic, elitist, and obscure.” The group said that the language of the new translation “demonstrates a lack of awareness of the insights gained from linguistics and anthropology during the past 100 years.”
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As Church regression set in under Pope John Pail II, my old friend, Archbishop Jean Jadot, who died in his one hundredth year in January 2009, told me to have a broad vision and remain hopeful. “In the church,” he said “ we are going through a hard winter, but spring will come again.”

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