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Vatican II and the Future of the Church: Listening Session

By Maureen Cerny

The weather was brisk as was the discussion on April 17, 2010, as some 75 participants shared their ideas at the Listening Session on Vatican II and the Future of the Church hosted by FutureChurch. The session is one of many being held around the US and Canada in preparation for a large American Catholic Council to be held in Detroit on Pentecost Sunday, June 10-12, 2011

Sr. Sallie Latkovich, CSJ
Sr. Sallie Latkovich, CSJ listens attentively.

After a welcome by Sr. Christine Schenk and a prayer song, small groups discussed what was going right in our Church. Most groups responded that the Eucharist is the core of their Catholic religious experience and is what sustains their Catholicism. Some mentioned the Church's great tradition of social justice and living Gospel values. One expressed her belief that the Church facilitates "a person becoming all that anyone could aspire to be."

Our facilitator Sr. Sallie Latkovich, CSJ, Director of the Holy Lands Study Programs at the Catholic Theological Union, gave a concise review of Vatican II and its major documents. She quoted Sr. Sandra Schneiders: "the over-arching tension in the Church today is between those who have accepted and embodied the spirit and statements of Vatican II and those revisionists who deny or undermine the spirit and statements of Vatican II."

Referencing this dichotomy, Sr. Sallie used Power Point to show the reaction to the major themes in these Vatican II documents: Dei Verbum, Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes & Sacrosanctum Concilium. She gave specific examples spanning puzzling changes in liturgical rules to ornate vestments worn by the newly ordained. Sr. Sallie quoted the famous Hebrew Scripture scholar, Walter Breuggemann who believes that true prophecy arises from a deep pain over they way things are compared to the way things should be. The role of the prophet is to nurture, nourish and evoke needed change.

Next, the table groups discussed what keeps them in the Church. Despite frustrations – especially with Church governance –many expressed their deep cultural and ethnic ties to the Church. "I bleed Catholicism" was felt by many cradle Catholics. Finally, each group wrote on large papers how they will be prophets in the Church to "nurture, nourish and evoke" needed change. Some ideas included participating in volunteer activities that shine the light of Christ, working for social justice, supporting FutureChurch and spreading the good word about it, and apprising our local Bishop of the enthusiasm of this listening assembly.

Please host your own listening session with your small faith community or parish. No listening session is too small! Download a free toolkit at www.futurechurch.org.

A great turnout and high energy.
A great turnout and high energy.

Focus on FutureChurch

Spring 2010


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