The landmark document the synod released Monday was welcomed by most people as a sign of hope and change. Thomas Reese summarized the first week of deliberations in the National Catholic Reporter stating, “Listening, accompanying, respecting, valuing, discerning, welcoming, dialogue are words repeated throughout the new document being discussed by the synod of bishops in Rome this week . Words of condemnation and marginalization were avoided.”
Among the issues most mentioned at Monday's briefing was the synod document's stance toward gay people. The document states: "Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?" Asked if that stance represented a change in understanding of sexual orientation at the highest levels of the church, Archbishop Bruno Forte said Monday: "What I want to express is that we must respect the dignity of every person." "The fact to be homosexual does not mean that this dignity does not have to be recognized and promoted… The fundamental idea is the centrality of the person independent of different sexual orientations. … And I think it is the most important point. And also the attitude of the church to welcome persons who have homosexual orientation is based on the dignity of the person they are."
Reports from the spokesmen who are in the synod have said that one thing that bishops have talked about is refraining from using harsh language. In particular, they mentioned the phrases "living in sin" and "intrinsically disordered." What's interesting is I think Familiaris Consortio did not use the term "living in sin." I think these are positive ways in which we don't demean people. In other words, if I go to confession, I want someone to welcome me. In doing so, that doesn't deny the reality of sin and the destructiveness of sin. Most people -- let's go back to the example we used with addictions. People who are addicted already know. But in many ways, I think the positive language is a way to allow someone to walk the road to conversion.
I was gratified by the generosity of the members of the altar society who have donated $ 2000.00 to the parish for planting flowers around the Church. I personally love to have flowers around our Church and the campus. We have been blessed with such wonderful sacred grounds. Everyone who walks into these sacred grounds must feel a sense of welcome, and have the opportunity to smell the roses – the sense of peace and joy that comes from a well manicured grounds and flowers. I hope that this generous gift will soon be one many other offerings to come from parishioners who love the idea.
The staff of Christ the King together with our school principal spent a day and a half sharing their individual faith stories with one another and delineating their personal and ministerial goals. We spent the rest of the day talking about how we as the staff of CTK could become evangelizers according to the teachings of Pope Francis. We worked together as a team on the bulletins, webpage, hospitality and other areas of our ministry as staff. Integration of school, parish and Religious education was a major topic of our discussion. The Youth Ministry team presented their goals for a full-pledged youth and young adult program at the parish, mapping out their strategy for the coming months. I look forward to sharing these plans with the pastoral council and the parish community in the coming days. I had the privilege of sharing my own vision for the staff as I led them through a reflection on embracing the paradox. Niels Bohr, the Nobel Prize winning physicist stated: “The opposite of a true statement is a false statement, but the opposite of a profound truth can be another profound truth, in contrast to trivialities where opposites are obviously absurd.” It is essential for us to think the world together and in certain circumstances, truth is found not by splitting the world into either – ours, but embracing it as both – and.
This weekend, the crop walk ministry will have a table outside the Church. Crop Walk is about taking a stand against hunger in our world especially in our own neighborhoods. I would like to invite you to support the crop walk, 3/4th of the money raised will go to fight hunger around the world, and 25 percent will be used to help fund Winter nights shelter, whom we host for two weeks after Easter. The money raised at the Crop walk is a large source of funding for this amazing shelter, and I would like to congratulate Gwen Watson, our parishioner who was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Catholic Campaign for human development.
I would like to invite you to my installation mass as Pastor of Christ the King on October 25, Saturday at 5.00 pm with Bishop John Cummings. Please do pray for me.