Let Us Know: What Qualities Do You Seek in the Next Pope?

February 21, 2013

A week from today, Pope Benedict XVI will resign. Already speculators have saturated Catholic conversations with who the next pope will be. Bondings 2.0 wants to know what qualities, visions, and backgrounds our readers desire in this person. For your reflection, we’ve excerpted from pieces by Catholic writers on their ideas about the next pope. After reading, we hope you will add your thoughts in the comments section below.

Sr. Maureen Fiedler, host of the radio program Interfaith Voices, writes at National Catholic Reporter:

“We also need someone who accepts and preaches the Gospel value of human equality for women and men, people of all races and ethnicities, and people of all sexual orientations.

“So we need a ‘gutsy’ pope: someone who would open up all roles in the church to anyone who qualifies spiritually and would not rule anyone out based on gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Such changes would likely mean standing up to lots of Vatican bureaucrats…

“But you know, most of all, we need someone who can relate to people so well that he is willing to host a picnic in Vatican Square, or maybe a potluck somewhere. I’d bring some great hors d’oeuvres.”

Maryland parish priest, Fr. Peter Daly, also writing at National Catholic Reporter about his desire for a pope with experience as a parish priest:

“The Benedictines have a saying about the selection of a new abbot: The abbot should be ne numis sapiens, ne nimis sanctus, et ne nimis sanus — not too healthy, not too wise and not too holy. In other words, they should select a regular guy. That’s what I hope for: a regular guy…

“I hope he has a lot of nieces and nephews who have challenged him around the dinner table and in family gatherings…Perhaps one of those nieces and nephews has come out to him as gay and he has had to love them still.

“I hope we get somebody who is in touch with his own humanity. It would be nice if he was a man who admits that he, too, is a sexual being who has struggled with human desires and impulses like everybody else.”

Lastly, E.J. Dionne writing in The Washington Post calls for a nun to be elected pope (and we at New Ways Ministry heartily echo his sentiments):

“It is time to elect a nun as the next pontiff…

“Matthew 25:40 contains what may be the most constructive words ever written: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these my brethren, you did for me.’ More than any other group in the church, the sisters have been at the heart of its work on behalf of compassion and justice…

“The church needs a leader who has worked closely with the poor and the outcast, who understands that battling over doctrine is less important for the church’s future than modeling Christian behavior — and who sees that the proper Christian attitude toward the modern world is not fear but hope.”

What do you seek in the next pope? What qualities does that person need to lead the Catholic Church forward on LGBT issues?  Is there a particular person who models for you what a good pope should be?  Who would be your choice from the current College of Cardinals? Please leave your thoughts, idealistic ones and practical ones alike, in the ‘Comments’ section of this post.  We will try to follow-up on  our readers’ input in a future post.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


Catholic LGBT Calendar Features “Queer Catholic Faith” Series

October 4, 2012

A little-known feature of Bondings 2.0 is our “Catholic LGBT Calendar” page (click the tab above) which lists events and happenings across the country and around the world that focus on Catholic LGBT issues.

If you have events that you think might be of interest to others, please send information to director@NewWaysMinistry.org.

Just added to this calendar is Dignity USA‘s new season of their highly successful “Queer Catholic Faith” webinar series.  The program features live web-interviews with guests, with real-time questions and conversation from attendees, who participate via their computers. For 2012-2013, the program has expanded from four to six segments.  Each Tuesday night segment begins at 9:00 pm, Eastern Time, and you can register for them by clicking here.

The line up for 2012-2013:

October 23rd:  Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata, Co-founders of Fortunate Families

November 20th: Sr. Maureen Fiedler, Host and Producer of NPR’s Interfaith Voices radio show

December 18th: Sr. Jeannine Gramick, Co-Founder of New Ways Ministry

January 29th: Victor Postemski, DignityUSA Young Adult Caucus Co-Facilitator

February 26th: Fr. Robert Pierson, OSB,  Minnesota Advocate for LGBT equality

March 19th: Delfin Bautista, Member of DignityUSA’s TransCaucus

Be sure to tune in for these informative and inspiring sessions!

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


LCWR Responds to the Vatican with a Vision of Equality, Hope, and Dialogue

June 1, 2012

The national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has issued a response to the Vatican’s April report which challenged American nuns’ positions on several church issues, including their support of LGBT people and New Ways Ministry.

After a three-day meeting which ended on May 31st, the LCWR board critiqued both the substance and process of the Vatican’s investigation:

“Board members concluded that the assessment was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency. Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their ability to fulfill their mission. The report has furthermore caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and created greater polarization.”

The statement added that the LCWR leadership plans to have further discussions with Vatican leadership on the matter and then turn any further decision-making steps to the membership, which will be be meeting in St. Louis in August for their annual assembly.

Sister Christine Schenck

This statement comes after a month of vigils held around the U.S. in support of the LCWR and women religious.  Over 650 people prayed at a vigil in Cleveland this week.   A local television report quotes Sister Christine Schenck, Executive Director of FutureChurch:

“I feel like they’re maligning the integrity of women religious in the U.S. and they have disrespected the leadership in the U.S.”

CBS This Morning carried an interview with Sister Maureen Fiedlerhost of National Public Radio’s Interfaith Voices radio show, who called the Vatican’s attempt to provide oversight to LCWR  as a “hostile takeover.”  She also stated, in regard to LGBT issues:

“I think nuns embracing the teachings that came from the Second Vatican Council have become deeply involved on issues of poverty, injustice, in peace, in the environment. We’re very concerned about those things. Those are our whole lives. Our vows call us to give our lives to other people. And if we’re at all concerned about people of a gay or lesbian orientation, we believe they’re equal, too.”

Sister Maureen Fiedler

Sister Fiedler explained that part of the context for the Vatican versus LCWR controversy comes down to two different definitions of the church:

“This is about what kind of a Catholic Church we’re going to be. Because when I hear Vatican mandate, what I hear is the voice of the church of 19th Century, the voice of the church before that wonderful reforming council, the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, when it was exhilarating to be a Catholic in those days, when the windows were open and fresh air was let into the church. That’s what nuns today have embraced, is that kind of a church. Not a dictatorial one, but a collaborative one.”

That collaborative approach was evident in the concluding paragraph of the LCWR board statement.  With forthrightness and hope, they present a vision for a church of justice, equality, and dialogue:

“The board recognizes this matter has deeply touched Catholics and non-Catholics throughout the world as evidenced by the thousands of messages of support as well as the dozens of prayer vigils held in numerous parts of the country. It believes that the matters of faith and justice that capture the hearts of Catholic sisters are clearly shared by many people around the world. As the church and society face tumultuous times, the board believes it is imperative that these matters be addressed by the entire church community in an atmosphere of openness, honesty, and integrity.”

Amen!

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 965 other followers