Wednesday, October 02, 2002

From National Catholic Reporter: BLUEPRINT FOR VATICAN III

Catholics worldwide map church future

This is the request NCR’s editors circulated to Catholics in various parts of the world:

Which three issues do you believe a future general council of the Roman Catholic church must address, with a sentence for each explaining why. What are up to 12 additional items you would want to see on a council agenda, with a sentence on each.

No names will be mentioned. No one will be quoted by name.

We want the voices weighted toward Asia, Oceania, Africa and Latin America/Mexico.

The tag, “Vatican III,” is purely utilitarian. Obviously the sessions ought to be held in cities large and small throughout the developing world, with perhaps the final session held in Rome. This council, realistically, ought to be Haiti I, or Calcutta I, or Benin City I or World Church I.


The editors undertook this project because we believed there was a compelling need to gather the people of God around their shared views as we look to the future. With the clergy culture and hierarchy in disarray, there is a growing yearning for shared leadership and vision.

The Blueprint illustrates -- at a time when the U.S. and Western Catholic church focuses anxiously but almost exclusively on the clerical sexual abuse scandal and the leadership crisis it illustrates -- that there is a larger call for reform.

This Blueprint is not the final answer, and the fact that it is not a final outline is not the point. This Blueprint hopes to jumpstart the imagination of the church and promote a global conversation.

The point is that this Blueprint illustrates -- to church leaders and those who may one day call for a general council -- how they need to approach the people of God, as equals, in designing and reforming the church to meet the future. The voices of those closest to the people’s needs and the issues of the day have to be seen as coequal and co-responsible in shaping the church and its decision-making.

The Blueprint lets their voices be heard.


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