Date of Session June 2, 2022 Location of Session Ursuline Campus
Estimated No. of Attendees 30 Person Completing Form Sr. Janet M Peterworth
Describe the listening session experience (attendees’ attentiveness, engagement, openness, etc.
(This group answered the following themes: Listening/Speaking Out & Authority/Participation & Discerning/Deciding. The facilitators picked these for consideration.)
All present were excited about having an opportunity to talk about the topics. There was excellent participation, conversation, reporting and listening. There was high energy in the room as groups started their speaking after a time of silent reflection. During the report-out session, people were attentive and showed interest by body language of nodding or smiling. While some expressed their anger or hurt with the Church, there were no “outbreaks” or harsh words that were disruptive. Hurt/anger was expressed appropriately in the small groups. Some participants expressed appreciation to Pope Francis for undertaking such a process.
Highlight frequently cited points that generated energy or struck a particular chord with attendees.
Laity to be involved in decision-making especially at the local church level,
women’s voices to be heard both at the local level and nationally and pontifically,
moving away from clericalism and attitudes that it breeds,
reform of priestly formation; seminaries shield men from real worlds they will experience,
better inculturation of foreign clergy before they are put in charge of a parish,
moving away from the institutional Church being judgmental. All of us have a Baptismal call to mission, but not all of us can participate fully for a variety of reasons, being female, being divorced and re-married (no annulment), being gay or trans, speaking out on certain issues,
stopping the use of Eucharist as a threat or weapon.
Describe less-frequently cited points that attendees found inspiring or that introduced new perspectives.
Catholic people must give up their personal perceptions and prejudices if we are to welcome all people, i.e. people of color, the poor, LGBTQ+, marginalized, former Catholics.
It seems that money is the thing that speaks in parishes, annulment processes, and in Catholic schools.
Each generation of Catholics seem to be moving away from involvement in Church. This is distressing. How do we get them back and involved?
Church’s organizational structure is built on feudal system of “little kings” having “little kingdoms.” whether that be pastors, bishops, or tribunal members.
Women religious have been the prophetic voice in our church. The church would have been and will be in a difficult stage without them.
Provide examples of diversity of views and opinions that were shared by attendees.
Diversity of views are reflected in the answers above. In terms of diversity of participants, the group was not diverse. The participants were all white females (middle age or older) with the exception of two male participants- who were also white.
There was some frustration expressed with the fact that the parishes the participants attended chose not to participate in the listening sessions. That is why some participants came to the Ursuline invitation.
It was noted by one participant that there were no clergy present. This gave church employees a freedom to speak that they might not have had otherwise.
Highlight any pertinent, unique feedback that was shared by attendees.
Q2. One of the significant voices missing from the Church is that of the impoverished due to the social systems and institutional church systems which relegate the poor to needing to be served as the institution sees fit instead of as a partnership of care. This is the context around the institutional church being judgmental.
One of the current issues in the Church since Vatican Council II is a formation crisis. This crisis is at every level/developmental stage of catechesis from forming our clergy to forming our parishioners. Our continual focus seems to be confined to formation of children mainly through Sacramental Preparation (which may or may not be taught by someone who knows about the Sacrament). Sacramental preparation seems to be focused on the logistics (banners, dresses, suits, proper responses, processions) rather than the reason and graces for the Sacraments, the relationship with Jesus. Our faith, in many ways, is an adult faith and yet we have not specifically encouraged solid adult formation in areas other than Scripture. The hope that exists is that more and more laity are receiving advanced theological and catechetical training as a means to not only grow in their own faith and relationship with Jesus but also expressly as an answer to their Baptismal Call. Unfortunately, the people participating in the session who had received advanced theological training are not being engaged/acknowledged in a meaningful way as knowledgeable in teaching the faith due to clericalism.
Due to the participants of our group and their roles in the community, we talked a good bit about the importance of developing, acknowledging, and employing the leadership of the laity. Right now, at least, 50% of the Church is in a position where they see no leadership pathway in the Church. Our young women can’t imagine learning and growing in the church as a professional vocation because they don’t see a path of advancement or importance. Men and women are equal and complementary when it comes to the Church’s sexual ethics but not when it comes to building up and supporting the Body of Christ or Mother Church.
Share additional observations, comments, or input that you feel could add to our learnings in this Synod listening phase.
All covered in above answers.