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The synodal way – will women and laity ever have an effective voice in the Catholic Church's governance?

Lay Catholics have condemned the outline by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for the synodal process for the national Church, warning that it will stifle discussion, participation and freedom for everyone except the hierarchy.

The bishops’ conference’s vision for the synodal process, which was published last month and is based on the Holy See’s vision for the process, reserves discernment around what topics should be taken forward from the parish level to the global synod in 2023 to the bishops’ conference alone. While all members of the Church have the right to speak, particularly in the diocesan-level listening process this winter, they also have “the obligation to allow those charged with the work of discernment the freedom to do so”.

Hiroshima remembered

76 years on………..…
Hiroshima and Nagasaki remembered
Chris McDonnell la croix August 06 2021

It was just after breakfast time on August 6th 1945 when a single B29 super fortress bomber plane of the US air force appeared in the clear blue sky above the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It was about to unleash the most destructive weapon of war yet developed by mankind on the unsuspecting population going about their business in the streets below.

Piloted by Paul Tibbets, the B29 bore the name of his mother on its fuselage nosecone - Enola Gay. Its payload bomb known as ‘Little Boy’ was the result of years of nuclear research in the US under the code name of the Manhattan Project. It was the start of the Atomic Age.

ESV Bible

Download: ESV & Lectionary 2021

Catholics in the UK are aware (I hope) that in 2022 there will be a new Lectionary. In every Mass “God’s holy words” will be proclaimed in a new and inclusive translation.
The Jerusalem Bible has served us well providing the readings for the very first time in a modern English translation. But so inadequate was that translation that it was quickly replaced by The New Jerusalem Bible. That translation likewise proved to be very poor. A third effort, the Revised New Jerusalem Bible was produced (by a single scholar) with the expectation of its publishers that it would be chosen for a new Lectionary. That our bishops did not approve of that translation and chose instead a Catholic edition of the English Standard Version has caused much conflict. Some clarification of that decision will not go amiss.

Download: A Bidding Prayer or two this Sunday

There are many occasions when our prayer is simple and direct, uncluttered by carefully chosen words and phrases, times when we place ourselves before the loving God and seek his fullness. Such personal prayer might take place during the Eucharist or in the privacy of our own room. Wherever it occurs, it will be a silent, individual matter.

Bread

Research shows that the churches that are growing are those that engage with experience. Not just the reflection on experience, important as that is, but also, providing a more personal experience within the liturgy. That experience, shared with others, becomes a gateway to the spiritual experience that lies at the heart of healthy religion.

That experience can be the exuberance of shared singing, music making and movement or the still, wordless mystery of adoration. The spiritual dimension of our lives needs more than the rational statements of belief, creeds and prayers that only address the intellect. Good liturgy tells stories, evokes mystery and engages emotions. Only when these are engaged does the language of faith and dogma find its proper place in people’s lives. Only when story is engaged with its complex and intuitive patterns can we invoke the personal dimension of the Easter mystery at the heart of every Christian’s belief. Only when I bring my lived experience to the Gospel can it become good news.

All well and good. But what does it mean for the average parish liturgy? I would like to suggest, by way of example, five practical steps that liturgy groups and leaders might employ.