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November 6, 1987     The Message
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November 6, 1987

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November 6, 1987 View Point The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i 11 By FATHER JOSEPH L. ZILIAK Associate Publisher Call for vocations is call for leadership in our church If all this talk about clergy shortage does nothing else but bring into sharper focus the role of the priest in our midst, then the discussion and concern will have been worthwhile. This week is vocations awareness week here in our diocese. We presume that many schools, religious ed classes and other small group gather- ings will be given a little more consideration to the question of religious leadership. For when we .eak about the need for vocations to religious life, men and women in communities, or brothers, deacons, or our diocesan priests in the parishes and other diocesan institutions and offices, we are speaking about leaders in our religious groupings. The basic call that we are making these days is for all of us together to be very aware that we need those who carry the office of leaders. After all we have leaders in all areas of life. We may struggle with the style of leadership, or we may have trou- ble with the kind of leaders we discover in our midst. We have just had elections on many local levels. We see the other official and unofficial can- didates for President of the United States jockeying r position and competing for news coverage. We have either chosen them already, or they are seek- ing our endorsement to be named leaders in the realm of politics. Boards of directors regularly hire or fire leaders for their particular businesses. Volunteer groups usually go through an annual re- examination of the roster of names to find those either willing or able to take on the mantle of leadership. Those who do function as leaders make a significant impact on the membership of the business, the volunteer group, the class, the school, the city, town or country. There simply is no denying both the importance of the persons so chosen, or the role that they will play during the time of office. The same psychology applies in religious and church groups. But we have to place those ideas within an understanding of our church as it is presently constituted. It is vitally important that our church leaders be present and active. The call for men and women to seek positions of leadership in our church is what we mean when we talk about vocations. Few people enter into training programs for church leadership seeking to be in charge of lots of people or organizations. They come from a more self-effacing position, namely, seeking to follow a burning call that may be inside their hearts. Many years ago, when Christ walked this earth, he called various individuals to "come, follow me." Christ still does that today. We are asking men and women to hear and respond to that call today and join the long line of others who find great joy and satisfaction in being directly in- volved in the work of the Lord. If it is adventure you are seeking, you will find it in working for the Lord. If you realize that the important thing in life is to look beyond ourselves and leave a legacy of love and care, you will find it in working for the Lord. If you are looking for a job that hits at the deepest emotions and most important decisions of live, you will find it in working for the Lord. If you are looking for ways to bring healing, comfort and peace to peo- ple's troubled lives, you will find it in working for the Lord. If you are seeking employment in an industry where you feel secure that it will not go out of business, you will find it working for the Lord. If you are investigating careers that will prove challenging and draw forth ever new dimensions of you personality, you will find it working for the Lord. Central to an understanding of and a living out of our faith is the Eucharist. The Mass is always pivotal to our faith. Therefore, we may not have to have as many Masses in each of our parishes, but we will need to gather at the table of the Lord to maintain our faith tradition. Governance in our tradition will call for the role and place of clergy. Any fundamental change in that area would change ours from a hierarchical to a congrega- tionalist church. Thus, we will need clergy. We will need them as central to our understanding of leadership in our church. And what we need, we believe that God will provide. That, too, is part of our faith. If Christ calls, will you answer? Continued from page 1 The other urged: -- Avoiding language which is "unjustly discriminatory" against women. -- Including women active in the church in the.preparation of pastoral documents and other nrojects. . ..... -- Developing a "theology of matrimony," based on the love between Christ and the church. -- Conducting an- thropological and theological research on the foundations of the dignity of men and women. -- Restoring respect for virginity and maternity. Recommendations also dealt with the heavily debated synod issue of lay renewal movements, especially those since the Second Vatican Council. Several bishops complained that some movements engage in pastoral work in their dioceses without seeking approval and that their work sometimes con- flicts with diocesan projects and priorities. Defenders of the movements said they are often international in scope and should come under papal rather than local supervision. The synod praised the movements, but said founders, often clerics, and members must obey the authority of "local pastors and the pope." The synod believes that "bishops, priests and movements can work together," Archbishop Eyt said at the Vatican news conference. Synod recommendations also encouraged greater lay action on social and political issues. The laity was asked to mobilize against abortion, voluntary sterilization, manipulation of fetuses and drug trafficking. The synod rejected apartheid and religious discrimination or oppression. It asked for special attention to the plight of the world's poor and oppressed. The synod also said that: -- Parish structures should be flexible enough to allow more lay participation. -- Housework performed by women should be appreciated, and obstacles faced by mothers who want to spend more time with their children should be removed. -- Basic Christian com- munities, working with local pastors, are good examples of church unity and evangeliza- tion. At the synod closing Mass, Oct. 30, the pope said increased lay participation at the 1987 synod should be a model for future bishops' synods. Synod rules were waived to allow many of the almost 60 lay observers to speak at plenary sessions. Synod norms limit plenary speeches to voting members, who must be bishops or priests. The synod was able "to profit from their experience, their ad- vice and the suggestions they offered," the pope said. The synod also issued a public "Message to the People of God" Oct. 29 which en- couraged lay participation in the church and the world, but which did not discuss the synod's recommendations. The message opposed sexual discrimination against women and urged greater action to pro- tect human rights. "We rejoice in the progress and advances which have been made in recognition of the legitimate rights that enable women to fulfill their mission in the church and in the world," the message said. "In political activity the primary concern of the lay faithful should be honesty, the promotion of social justice and the rights of the human person in all phases of life," it said. This includes "the defense and recovery of various freedoms.