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Evansville, Indiana
January 8, 1993     The Message
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January 8, 1993

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Primary Pastoral Issues being A series, of meetings in the Diocese of Evansville led to the topics and questions listed on these pages. At this point in the synodal planning process, questions are more important than answers. These topics and questions are being called the Primary Pastoral Issues. Who decided that these are the most important issues? That matter has not yet been decided. The topics and questions on these pages came from people who at- tended a series af meetings. There were deanery meetings for clergy and lay persons, diocesan staff meetings, and meetings with principals, teach- ers, women religious catechists and health care providers. All of the issues and questions discussed at the meetings were pre- sented to the members of the Synod Central Planning Committee. That committee then proposed the topics and questions on these pages for fur- ther discussion. These proposed issues are now being discussed at parish assemblies throughout the diocese. Who will decide what are the primary pastoral issues? You will  if you take part in your parish assembly. A. Focus on lay leadership Lay persons have al- ways played key roles in parish life, but in the pre- Vatican II era, the laity as- sumed that it was their proper role to stand in the shadow of their parish priests. Vatican II has called upon the laity to play a more full and pub- lic role in parish life, and the social changes of the last thirty years have made that role even more central and public. One consequence of the de- cline in priestly vocations has been the increase in the secular duties im- t t t t t t t ,t tltl i i i Lay Leadership CathOlics often think of the laity as people who are not priests, deacons, sisters or brothers. Lay persons should not be defined, how- ever, by what they are not. A Catholic lay person Shares fully in the life of the Church as a member of Christ's Faithful, and is called to a life of Christian service at Baptism. Lay persons currently work side by side With ordained ministers and religious in parishes and in" dioceses. They are teachers and principals, pastoral associates, directors of religious education, parish business man- agers, liturgical ministers, RCIA directors and youth ministers -- to name just a few osed on a smaller num- examples. er of priests. In order to free our priests for their pastoral roles, lay persons must step fo ,rv, ard, contribute their talents to their parishes, and assume "leadership.' - What is the teaching of Vatican II on the role of the laity? How does the Catholic Diocese of Evansville measure up to Vatican II teaching on the role of the laity in the Church? How are the laity measuring up to this role? 2. How can parishes and diocesan organizations engage lay persons to accept more responsibility, accountability, and leadership for the Church community?. 3. How will parishes and diocesan organhations develop and train leaders, both ,salaried and volunteers? 4. How can parishes and diocesan organizations enable the person in his or her societywork environment to be a Gospel witness? 5. What is the position of Canon Law on the use of resigned or re- signed, laicized priests in the life of the Church? B. Expectations/Role/Supply of priests, deacons and religious The ministerial lead- ership for our diocese is important and approach- ing a situation of crisis. In the various meetings in the deaneries of lay lead- ers and the diocesan staff, the "shortage of priests and religious" has been selected as a primary pas- toral issue. Initially, this issue had been defined IIII II III I III II II I Priest Shortage The"priest shortage" is not merely a mat- ter of numbers, but numbers tell quite a story. The 1993 diocesan yearbook lists 82 priests as active in the diocese. Of that num- ber, 53 priests were ordained in the last 30 years.  primarily in terms of the : 1963-1972:26 shomge of ordained ZO priests, but that issue dress seemedthe toolonger narrow term to ad- i 10a3' 1992:1 7  strategic issue of supply- ing ministerial leadership for the Diocese Of Evansville. The "shortage of priests" does not address the future roles of the religious of the diocese, nor does it acknowledge the reality of the permanent deacons of the dio- cese and their potential contributions. Th questions which follow attempt to address 'these broader elements of the issue of "ministerial leadership." I. Why are fewer people choosing religious vocations todav 2. How do permanent deacons fit into the diocesan structu'r'e 3. How do priests" expectations of themselves correlate with the expec tations of the Bishop and of the people  4. How does the diocese plan to'allocate personnel for the leadership and sacramental life in communities without priests? 5. What is the role of vowed men and women religious in relationship to the role of the clergy and laity? C. Role of women in the church today Within the Catholic Church, one of the greatest topics for debate in the last decade has been the rights of women. In the Diocese of Evansville, women's concerns cover social/eco- nomic issues, personal growth, family, advocacy, equality in Church and so- ciety, and leadership roles. Women have made sub- stantial advances in the life of the Church, but are still not fully equal under the 1983 Code of Canon Progress Whether to ordain women is that can be decided by the Diocese ville. Changes in other areas are Vowed religious and lay women to take more prominent roles in leadership -- as parish life coordin pastoral associates, principals, parish staff members, to name a few ples. Sister Louise Bond, S.N.J,M., first woman to serve as Chancellor of! Diocese of Evansville. 1. If this is a valid view of things, what responsibil- painful situations occur- ring at the many levels of pastoral life in our Diocese. The emphasis fell upon the need for Catholics to be leaders in extending the healing and reconciling hand. The comments from the preliminary discus- sions which identified "Justice" as a primary pas- toral issue centered upon "Rights" and "Fairness." Within such a focus, Jus- tice is the principle which recognizes and protects rights and grants fairness in administering these rights. Even though all of the Catholics of the Dio- cese of Evansville are in- D. Justice Working for justice The Catholic:Charities Bureau of the cese of Evansville provides other human services to persons western Indiana, The work of Cathc ities is a sign of the Church's concern matters of justice. :: Urban ministry, religious education the work of the Global Horizons these too are signs"of a commitm justice. volved in living out this principle, the role of each person varies to that person's place or position in the local and diocesan church. quently, we have to individualize this issue in accord with those variable roles, but that does not change the fact that the responsibility and ability for implementing the principle of justice rests with the church at levels. i: ,! 1. Do parish and diocese structures encourage us to assume such ac- countability, and if they do not, should these structures be changed? 2. If the structures of public life interfere with the implementation of . justice, should parish and diocesan structures impact on these elements of public, secular life? 3. What is the role of the Catholics of the Diocese of Evansville, both within the Church and within larger society, in relation to discrimination based on: ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, and being differently abled? 4. What is the role of the Catholics of the Diocese of Evansville, both within the Church and within larger society, in relation to poverty, drug and alcohol dependency, life issues, prisoners, the environment, job avail- ability, and other justice issues? The preliminary dis- cussions which placed the issues of Healing and Rec- onciliation on the roster of primary pastoral issues fo- cused upon the many E. Healing and reconciliation II Ill i An anecdote of alienation My uncle married outside the Church; He couldn't go to Communion. Morn and Dad worried about him a lot. Divorce remarriage, annulments -7-thei; words themselves bring to mind pers6nal: and family experiences for many Catholic s. Many of them are painful and may still re  quire healing and reconciliation. : Is there any one of us who does not have a friend or a relative who has felt hurt or pain or alienation? Healing is a ministry  to those who are wounded in body or soul. i i i i i i i i Continued on next Law. Even so, they have made great advances, including: in the 1917 Coda, women could not be diocesan chancellors, nor auditors, assessors, defend, ers of the bond, promoters of the faith, nor judges on diocesan courts. Women could not belong to diocesan synods or their commissions, nor could women belong to the financial administrative council of a diocese, nor be professors or board members of a seminary. Under the 1983 Code, all of these positions are now open to women. Further, vowed women, as well as men, may now administer parishes in cases of need, doing what- '::: ever does not require ordination. I. Are the people of the Diocese of Evansville open to greater empoW- :: erment of women, lay and religious, in the life of the Church? 2. Can the people recognize and accept the giftedness of women in ex- panding numbers in ministerial and leadership roles? 3. Where does the diocese stand in comparison to other dioceses (na- tionally and world-wide) and other faith traditions in recognizing and uti- lizing women's gifts? 4. Recognizing that women have made and continue to make signifi- cant contributions to the diocese, what women's issues within its campy- tency does the Diocese of Evansville need to address? 5. What current positions of leadership are held by women? How are these women accepted in these roles? For what additional roles should : women be considered? How is the Diocese of Evansville facilitating women's movement into such roles?