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May 17, 1991     The Message
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May 17, 1991

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2 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana May 17, 1991 Women's pastoral consultation highlights U.S. church leadership By JOHN THAVIS Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- An unusual consultation will occur at the Vatican in late May, one which finds the universal church lending an attentive ear to the teaching voice of a single national hi- erarchy. Selected bishops from around the world have been called in to talk about the U.S. bishops' pastoral letter on women's concerns, cur- rently in its ninth year of preparation. Vatican officials will also participate. Church sources said the May 28-29 meeting will offer international "balance" to an important document on a sensitive topic. It will also give the Vatican some chance for-direct input -- Rome is uncomfortable sitting on the sidelines while a national conference breaks new ground, they said. The U.S. church is sched- uled to send six representa- tives. They are: Archbishops Daniel E. Pilarczyk of Cincin- nati, William H. Keeler of Baltimore and J. Francis Stafford of Denver; Bishops Joseph L. Imesch of Joliet, Ill., and Matthew H. Clark of Rochester, N.Y.; and Msgr. Robert N. Lynch, general sec- retary of the National Confer- ence of Catholic Bishops-U.S. Catholic Conference. Archbishops Pilarczyk and Keeler are president and vice president, 'respectively, of the NCCB-USCC; Archbishop Stafford is a member of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Bishop Imesch is chairman of the bishops' writing committee for the women's pastoral, and Bishop Clark is chairman of the NCCB Committee on Women in Society and in the Church. Some Catholics might see the encounter as an attempt at Vatican control over bish- ops' conferences. The meet- ing, according to one curtal official, was the idea of Pope John Paul II, and it has caused the U.S. bishops to delay their final vote on the document. But this consultation can be read another way, church officials acknowledged. It sig- nals that the old model of church teaching "from the top down" is becoming more flexible. Here, a single bish- ops' conference has pushed a major issue into the universal arena, prompting a wide- ranging discussion that other- wise rlight not have oc- curred. The second draft of the pas- toral letter on women, made public a year ago, addresses controversial topics. It calls sexism a sin and, while de- fending the church's ban on women priests, calls for a re- versal of church norms that exclude women from other ministries. The Vatican secretary of state, Archbishop Angelo So- dano, who helped organize the May consultation, said its purpose was to assure that U.S. bishops are "in tune" with papal thinking and that of other episcopates on women's role in the church. It will be "a good thing" for U.S. bishops to hear the views of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vati- can's doctrinal congregation, Archbishop Sodano said. But he said, "There are no prob- lems on the theological level." The consultation will be an information exchange, the archbishop said, allowing bishops to describe their cul- tur-al, economic and social situations, but leaving indi- vidual bishops' conferences free to deal with practical problems in their own coun- tries. IIII IIII at UEBELHOR & SONS WE'LL MATCH YOUR DOWN PAYMENT UP TO *3,000 TO GET YOU A SUPER DEAL WE'RE MAKING WAVES IN THE CAR BUSINESS WASHING DOWN PRICES 1991 CADILLAC Sedan de Ville MSRP $32,175 YOUR DOWN PAYMENT 3,000 OUR MATCHING OFFER 3000 FINANCE ONLY SALE ENDS MAY 18 1991 TOYOTA Camry 4-Door MSRP $14,531 YOUR DOWN PAYMENT 1,500 OUR MATCHING OFFER s26,175. 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