The Institutional Church
LIVING THE CATHOLIC FAITH IN THE 3RD MILLENIUM
A LAYMAN'S LOOK AT THE JOURNEY OF FAITH

The Institutional Church

A LISTENING CHURCH  
How does the center of institutional authority — in the Catholic Church, the papacy and the Vatican—allow dialogue within a global, decentralized, talk-back culture? The answer is: with great difficulty.
A LISTENING CHURCH AND AN EMPOWERED LAITY 
Pope Francis speaks of bishops as leaders who should sometimes go ahead of their flock, sometimes simply walk among them, and sometimes fall in at the rear and be led by those seeking new paths.
FLIRTING WITH SCHISM 
The people behind this attempt to force Francis to resign are a small minority of Catholics in the United States; they do not reflect Francis’s relationship with the whole U.S. church, much less the Catholic Church globally.
FRANCIS'S "UNPREDICTABILITY" CONFUSING TO THE AVERAGE CATHOLIC? 
We’re already a week into 2015, but even several days before consigning the old year to the annals of Vatican history Pope Francis indicated that the new year was likely to be full of surprises.
IT'S TIME FOR OUR BISHOPS TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX ABOUT EFFECTIVE PASTORAL LEADERSHIP 
True pastoral leadership notices, encourages and trusts the work of the Spirit in the heart of each believer for the building up of God's reign in our world.
VATICAN WARNS CATHOLIC BLOGS CREATE "CESSPOOL OF HATRED" 
Although Pope Francis has succeeded in rebranding the public profile of the Church his positive tone isn’t always reflected when Catholics themselves take to the use of social media.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? - PART I 
Making sense of two millennia of relatively untouchable and unassailable top-down power requires a short cut. Singling out those popes known as 'Great' will suffice.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? - PART II 
Jesus had founded a community of and for the poor, yet most of its top leaders were wallowing with the wealthy or in personal wealth.
WHERE ARE THE PRIESTS OF VATICAN II? 
40 years later -- concerned about a Vatican II vision of church and yearning for a community with the same hopes and dreams for justice and peace.
WHOSE ROME? 
The Catholic opposition to Pope Francis is headquartered in the United States. It is a minority within the U.S. Church, but it is well organized. Its main intellectual organ is First Things, its episcopal leader Archbishop Chaput.
WHY THE CHURCH CAN'T CHANGE - OR CAN IT? 
While church leaders themselves can sometimes talk favorably about a structure that is leaner, the question for all of us is what may be lost if there is no longer a distinctive Catholic identity.
SCHISM OR EVOLUTION? 
The concerted efforts to oust Pope Francis are deeply tied to the perverted crisis of abuse embedded in ecclesiastical power structures.
WHY DO SOME CATHOLICS FEAR CHANGE? 
There are striking parallels between the ultramontanist thinkers and authors of the 19th century - the century of Vatican I - and those that could be named the 'new ultramontanists' of today.
THE PILGRIM CHURCH REVIVED UNDER POPE FRANCIS 
A call for a renewed engagement in the world, not on the basis of suspicion and an endless, numbing critique of cultures, but on the basis of love and an evangelical zeal.
VATICAN REORGANIZATION WOULD BE 'DECISIVE SHIFT' 
Pope Francis' advisory Council of Cardinals has suggested that the pontiff reorganize the Vatican to make a 'decisive shift' toward putting the city-state at the service of local Catholic dioceses around the world.
CLERICALISM 
If clericalism looms large in today’s church, it has had centuries to grow strong. David Timbs traces the roots of clericalism back to the end of the Apostolic age, at the end of the first century.
I CAN'T GET THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH OUT OF MY SYSTEM 
For centuries, the official church, consciously or subconsciously, focused on the religious education of children and zeroed in on adults with little developed spiritual maturity.
LET'S TALK ABOUT AUTHORITY 
The relation of the papacy to the bishops, considered as a collective, has been a hot topic for Catholicism on and off since at least the fourteenth century.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S EUPHEMIZATION OF POWER 
Although, as the Second Vatican Council affirmed, the church comprises the whole People of God — the laity and the ordained — in practice, the church is structured by inequality that is sanctioned and consecrated by priestly ordination.
CONFRONTING A SINFUL CHURCH  
Talk of a holy Church without an accompanying “sinful” descriptor, especially in times like our own, can provoke profound cognitive dissonance among the faithful.
THE CHALLENGE AND DILEMMA FACING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S LEADERS 
"Salvation" is NOT some game of demonstrating how many laws, rules and dogmas we can recite; or how many cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die promises we make over our lifetimes...
CLERICAL IDENTITY CRISIS: FLOCK AND PASTURE CAN'T TELL SHEPHERD WHO HE IS 
Hierarchical culture is the gold carrot for those predisposed to its allurements. In its crassest forms it not only seems unbreakable but comes with a breathtaking lack of shame...
SIXTH YEAR MAY GO DOWN AS THE MOST DECISIVE IN FRANCIS' PAPACY 
The pope invites us to a different way of being a Christian church in which the new evangelization is no longer tied up with technological, still less managerial, questions, as too often happened here in the U.S. under John Paul II and Benedict XV.
BISHOPS MUST LOOK WITHIN THEIR OWN CULTURE 
Clergy culture or clerical culture are quickly becoming well-worn descriptions of an entity that previously went by the more reverential term "priesthood."
THE SHALLOW INTERPRETATION OF CLERICALISM 
With roots going back over a millennium and half, the ancient clerical system has been superimposed as an anti-evangelical institution upon the lay Catholic sacrament of Orders.
HOW VIEWS ON PRIESTLY CELIBACY CHANGED IN CHRISTIAN HISTORY 
For a long time the Catholic Church struggled with its interpretation of Scriptures on priestly celibacy. It wasn’t until the 12th century that priestly celibacy became mandatory.
GERMAN BISHOPS ANNOUNCE 'SYNODAL PROCESS' ON CELIBACY, SEXUAL MORALITY 
Cardinal Reinhard Marx has announced that the Church in Germany is embarking on a "binding synodal process" to tackle the three key issues arising from the clerical abuse crisis: priestly celibacy, the teaching on sexual morality, and a reduction of clerical power.
GERMAN BISHOPS GO IT ALONE ON REFORM PROCEDURE 
While the bishops deeply appreciated celibacy how far it was always necessary for the priesthood was something 'we will find out'

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