Pope Francis in Canada – July 24-30, 2022 – What’s at Stake?

Jul 18, 2022 | 0 comments

Pope Francis meeting with Canadian First Nations’ Leaders in Rome – April 2022

In Canada in July 2022 at the request of ‘first nations’ peoples – whose children were kidnapped and abused in residential schools in the past (in an attempt to replace their native culture and beliefs with an oppressive European Christianity) – Pope Francis may well feel obliged to confront other issues that trouble the whole of North America.

Aside from an obvious need for the Catholic church to repudiate its own past support for white European imperialism, there is now an obvious need also to confront the growth of a new 21st century white European nationalism that threatens to destabilise even the USA’s experiment in democracy.

With most US Catholic bishops silent on the attempted Trumpian coup of January 6th 2022 against the lawfully elected presidency of Joe Biden, it is far from clear that they are as enthusiastic about democracy as Pope Francis. Will he take the opportunity of his visit to Canada to comment on that issue as well?

And on the issue of white negative reaction against mass immigration to the USA from south and central America that is so much a part of white US paranoia and populism?

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The papal Dum Diversas Bull of 1452, and other related bulls (proclamations), gave the Pope’s blessing to European efforts ‘to capture, vanquish, and subdue the Saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ and put them into perpetual slavery and to take all their possession and their property.’ Collectively these became known as the ‘Doctrine of Discovery‘.

In 2009, the Episcopal (Anglican) Church repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, and Catholic religious orders have called on Pope Francis to follow suit.

Already he has apologised to the first nations for the Catholic Church’s part in the residential schools that caused so much suffering. Soon he may go further, but by how much?

For an NCR article on the Doctrine of Discovery, click here.

Pope Francis’ visit to Canada is a time to embrace an Indigenous future. (NCR)

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ACI’s Campaign for Lumen Gentium 37

The Promise of Synodality

What we have experienced of synodality so far gives ACI real hope that a longstanding structural injustice in the church may at last be acknowledged and overcome.

As all Irish bishops well know, the 'co-responsibility' they urge lay people to share - as numbers and energies of clergy decline - has been sabotaged time and again by canonical rules that deny representational authority and continuity to parish pastoral councils.  ACI's 2019 call for the immediate honouring of Lumen Gentium Article 37 becomes more urgent by the day and is supported by the following documents - also presented to the ICBC in October 2019.

The Common Priesthood of the People of God and the Renewal of the Church
It was Catholic parents and victims of clerical abuse who taught Catholic Bishops to prioritise the safeguarding of children in the church

Jesus as Model for the Common Priesthood of the People of God
It was for challenging religious hypocrisy and injustice that Jesus was accused and crucified. He is therefore a model for the common priesthood of the laity and for the challenging of injustice - in society and within the church.

A Suggested Strategy for the Recovery of the Irish and Western Catholic Church
Recovery of the church depends upon acknowledgment of the indispensable role of the common priesthood of the lay people of God and the explicit abandonment by bishops and clergy of paternalism and clericalism - the expectation of deference from lay people rather than honesty and integrity.

For the full story of ACI's campaign for the honouring of Article 37 of Lumen Gentium, click here.

Prayer

"Come Holy Spirit, Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Saviour, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen."

Saint Pope John XXIII, 1962 - In preparation for Vatican Council II, 1962-65.

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