I apologize for the length of this post, but I wanted to share my notes from UDMC this year. It was a great conference.
University of Dallas Ministry Conference
28-29 October, 2011
Session I: Developing Lay Ecclesial Ministry by Francis Cardinal George (born in Chicago in 1937, 1st native Chicagoan to become bishop of Chicago)
· Cardinal George wishes to address 4 points
- Ecclesiology/Theology of the Church: we must start with relationships
- Integrate Ministries into mission: take a look at the relationship between Church and the world. In Vatican II, the Church is called the “Sacrament of the Unity of the Human Race.”
- Culture: Sacraments, Community, Ecclesiology
- Lay Ecclesial Ministries
· The development of the Lay Ecclesial Minister is a “Sign of the Times.”
· In our culture, there is an idea that what you do equals who you are, this is inaccurate.
· “Ministry begins not with control, but in going to others on their terms.”
· Cardinal George wants to avoid the term cleric—a cleric is someone who is not accountable to a superior and so as Catholics we shouldn’t use this term.
· Relatedness is primordial; we are in relationship before we understand the concept of “I.”
· Only relationships are eternal.
· “Communio” is basic and important to Vatican II. It is used many times. We miss this in English because they use several different words to translate it.
o It is used more than 200 times in Lumen Gentium.
· We have to rethink community if we are going to be Vatican II Catholics.
· Vatican II wanted to understand the Church as relationships, not worried about the state as an institution but the culture of the people.
· How does the Church address the world in order to change the world?—this is our mission.
· We don’t want to be isolated, sectarian.
· The purpose of Vatican II was not to just change the Church, it was to change the Church so that we could change the world. It was to enable us to clean up our act so that we could convert the world.
· It’s not shaping the state, it’s shaping the culture that we must try to do. [I would argue that in shaping the culture of a republic like the US, we would be shaping the state.]
· Cardinal George discussed the protestant background of the US
· This protestant background still shapes us, which impedes us in our own faith lives.
· The Church’s voice is inside, it’s a mother’s voice—it teaches us, tells us how to think, what to do.
· A gift is a commodity with a person attached, you accept the gift but also the person.
· We share the gifts of Christ.
· The purpose of ministry is to share the gifts.
· Our ministries should be welcoming.
· Sacraments create a new world.
· If you can’t govern and can’t care for people, don’t become a priest.
· Start with Christ as pastor and that explains everything else.
· You cannot be a priest without a people.
· We all have titles—that title involves the relationship. To think of only the title without the relationship negates the title.
· Lay—of the world; Ecclesial—of the Church; Ministry—bringing people closer to Christ.
· Lay Ecclesial Ministry—Participation in pasturing without the sacrament of Holy Orders.
· In Lay Ecclesial Ministry, we are the Church relating to the Church. Disciple relating to disciple, not head to body.
· You need a call from the head of the Church, calling you to be Christ not just to the world, but to other disciples.
· It is a vocation within a vocation.
· Formation in Lay Ecclesial Ministry has four components:
- Invisible—the Call from God. This is an urgency, a sense that God is calling me to serve beyond what I’m already doing. It is a call to be in relationship to other disciples to make them holier.
- Skills acquisition—Academic. This should not be the most important part, but you cannot be a good Lay Ecclesial Minister without it.
- Along with that, personal formation is important. “Together in God’s Service” is the formation program in Chicago. Personal formation is as important as academic formation. Lay Ecclesial Ministers are also accountable to the Bishop, just as a priest is.
· In Chicago, they do the formation and academic eductionation along with the seminarians so that there are less divisions between the two groups.
· 80% of the Lay Ecclesial Ministers in Chicago are women.
· Examples of Lay Ecclesial Ministers: DREs and Pastoral Associates
- Commissioning—Lay Ecclesial Ministers are commissioned by the diocese. If the parish can’t afford a Lay Ecclesial Minister or cuts the program, the diocese sees to it that the Lay Ecclesial Minister is reassigned. Ministry for the sake of mission.
Session II: Called to be Prophets and Poets by Dr. Robert McCarty
· We must look at our ministry through the lenses of prophet and poet.
· Without the prophetic core, we lapse into stagnation. Without the poetic core, we lapse into self righteousness and exhaustion.
o Discipleship as call to be prophet and poet.
o 3 skills that a Prophet and poet needs
o The good news that motivates us
o Prophets are the audible voice and the visible sign of the invisible God’s love and compassion.
o A prophet reminds the establishment what it was established for, reminds us of our mission.
o The prophet takes the inaudible God and makes him audible.
o Tells the stories of the marginalized.
o Who is telling the stories of poverty in the US?
o Prophets are usually reluctant. We’re not born prophets, not born courageous—we become prophets, we become courageous.
o What excuses do we make?
o Five step movement in prophesy:
1. Assess the situation:
o look around, see the injustice, name what we see, avoid the conspiracy of silence.
o The last century was split by the holocausts, epidemics, wars.
o The prophet has to see it and name it.
o Oscar Romero was considered safe and middle of the road. They thought he wouldn’t be a problem for the government. It took a friend’s death to make him see.
o Thomas Merton—we should always read with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.
2. Characterized by speech: no, never, never again.
o hypersensitive to evil
o not afraid to speak the truth to power.
o they ask the hard questions: “How do we…” “Why is it…”
o “Prophets are a pain in the neck.”
o Jesus was annoying because of what he says.
o This is what prophets do—they see and speak out.
3. Prophesy is anchored in mission and flows from mission
o Prophets are not judged by their success but by their staying true to the word.
4. Pathos: Prophesy is characterized by tears.
o Injustice can seem overwhelming.
o compassion for the human condition
o having a moist heart—combination of compassion and tears (a Native American saying)
5. Leads to a new situation
o The prophet is transformed by hope
o “Hope has two lovely daughters: anger and courage.” -Augustine
o Harness the anger on behalf of change
o Prophets have to be believed or killed.
o “To be truly involved in life is prophetic. To be a prophet without experiencing the pain of rejection, failure, and being misunderstood is impossible.” –Robert Wicks
o We also shouldn’t care about that rejection. Keep going anyways.
o Dr. McCarty was asked by a High School student, “Why did Jesus get whacked in the first place?” – this is the essential question.
o If we don’t get this, we don’t get anything.
o Jesus gets whacked because he redefined the kingdom: “The first shall be last…”—he ticked off the first.
o We’re part of the first!
o Jesus was radical compassion.
o How much do we love those who seem unlovable?
o Reflection Questions:
o Where in your ministry do you feel like a prophet?
o What are the costs?
o What are the payoffs?
o Who have been prophets who spoke to you, challenged you?
o It’s not enough to do for Jesus, we also have to be in Jesus.
o A bishop was once asked, “Which do you love more: working for the kingdom of God or God?” Afterwards, he added another hour of prayer to his day.
o The prophet emphasizes the work on behalf of the kingdom, the poet emphasizes relationship with God.
o If our commitment to Jesus is complete, then our lives will be lived in holy communion with Him.
o Only when there is genuine conversion will justice win.
o Don’t just do something, sit there… this is the ministry of being.
o “The Christian of the next century will be a mystic or nothing at all.” Karl Rahner
o Our mystics and not our theologians will be the better chance of relating to our young people.
o Learn to sit in the presence
o The Ministry of Being
§ “I do mission.” – Prophet
§ “I am mission.” -Poet
o Just sitting and waiting with people who are hurting is part of the mission
o To be a poet, we must practice Sabbath.
o We must recapture Sabbath theology
o To live in Sabbath time means to be attuned to the holiness in time.
o Poets talk about time in terms of the second act, the third stanza… their language is different than hours and minutes.
o It’s about being in time so we can stop and listen to what we are called to do in time.
o Being present to the moment
o Are we living fast or are we living deep?
o It’s challenging to be in the moment right now.
o Unconditional love is a part of the poet
o Our culture encourages us to run form experience to experience. We become experience junkies who collect experiences without dwelling on them.
o We must be a person of prayer in order to live deep.
o We will not encounter love by living fast.
o To practice Shavat:
§ Learn to stop.
§ Busyness can cause blindness (or death).
§ Become attentive.
§ Leisure is closely allied to Sabbath.
o Let’s put ourselves in time out.
o To practice Sabbath is to practice re-creation: creativity, artistic expression
§ Recreation in community
§ festivity and delight
§ people of joy
o Sabbath repairs the world.
o We put a limit on Sabbath joy, but this should not be so.
o Remember, the only thing that Jesus makes for dinner is reservations.
o We have this idea: “Don’t be too happy, it’s clearly got to be sinful.”
o Only Catholics could have invented Lent (they were probably Irish Catholics), but only Catholics could have invented Mardi Gras (the French).
o Our wonder quotient: when did we last experience wonder and awe?
o Reflection Questions:
§ When in my ministry do I most feel like a poet?
§ What have been the costs?
§ What have been the payoffs?
§ Who are poets for me?
· Prophet and Poet: When we put these two together, we get holiness.
o Mary and Martha—we need to be both Mary and Marth to be holy.
o Holy Thursday—breaking bread and washing feet
· We are called to be a both/and kind of people.
· People of devotion and people of Catholic Social Teaching. People of Paul/Peter; Gentile/Jew; Great Cathedrals/Great Soup Kitchens; Progressive/traditional.
· Prophet: Good Friday and the Crucifixion, Poet: Easter and the Resurrection.
· 3 Skills:
· Pay Attention. It is heroic to pay attention. Name the false idols and false values.
o Redefine the kingdom.
o If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.
o Success is a false message.
o If relationships are only about use, it’s not a relationship.
o Failure to notice the false messages leads to corruption.
o There is a cost to being a true Christian: Romero, MLK Jr.
o In 2009, 23 Catholic missionaries were murdered for their faith.
o But pay attention also to the good, to the presence of God.
o Collect moments of grace—those moments are clearly sacramental.
o The consequences of the moment
· Speak the Truth gently.
o Speaking gently as opposed to speaking forcefully and egotistically
o What truth can the poor speak to us?
o The spirituality of the oppressed—the call to conversion
o “I tell you this so that you might have life and have it abundantly.”
o Oscar Romero said that the poor are preaching in El Salvador and their truth shall set us free.
o How we treat the powerless is the real test of the Christian.
o Jesus named the evil, called for repentance.
o The call to conversion: turning away and turning towards.
o Through word and witness
o As gentle as Mother Teresa was, her message was not gentle.
o We are called to speak the truth by what we say and what we do.
· Get a dream.
o It’s all about the size of your dream.
o The societal dream versus a dream worthy of reckless abandon
o We must have a dream that’s worthy of reckless abandon, that’s worth grabbing onto, worthy of an adventure.
o Remember the power of the faith of a mustard seed.
o We’ve been sold the wrong dream, the dream of a culture of death.
o The Jesus dream—Jesus reading from Isaiah. He announced the reign of God and signed his death warrant.
o The reign of God is the Jesus dream, that’s the message.
· To speak about God is one thing, but to dare to speak for God requires great arrogance and great humility.
· There is a challenging and transforming aspect of the Good News.
· Are we afraid that the Gospel has lost its power?
· We must proclaim clearly with a prophetic and poetic voice that darkness doesn’t win.
· Are we more joyful? Are we more loving? peaceful? forgiving? courageous?
· If you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap. If you want to be happy for a day, go fishing. If you want to be happy for a month, get married. If you want to be happy forever, serve God. [I’m not sure how I feel about marriage only bringing a month of happiness… but he did laugh when he said it.]
Session III: Teaching on Tough Issues: Practical Tips for Helping God’s People Embrace Challenging Truths by Ken Ogorek
- Never mistake resistance on your part for error on the Church’s part.
- When we feel discomfort, we take this discomfort and then automatically think the teaching needs to change.
- We have to ask God for help to understand the reasoning and to change ourselves.
- God reveals some of his preferences to us—we are not groping blindly in the dark.
- For instance, God’s preference for forgiving sin is in the sacrament of confession. While this is the preferred way, it’s not the only way. We can’t put God into a box.
- Fullness of truth is important
- God loves us so much that He blesses the Church with his fullness of truth.
- The hierarchy of truths is taught poorly and then sounds like it says that moral relativism is okay.
- If the hierarchy of truths is taught poorly, it leads to being a Cafeteria Catholic.
- If it’s in the CCC, it’s all true.
- The truth of the trinity is necessary to teach baptism in the name of the trinity. Hence, it’s core.
- Never mistake a clever argument for the truth.
- There is no higher authority than an individual’s INFORMED conscience.
- There are moral absolutes.
- An act can be intrinsically evil where there can be no set of circumstances where it isn’t evil.
- It’s so easy to believe something is okay if our end is good.
- Not only do our goals have to be good, but our means do as well.
- Sexuality is a beautiful gift from a loving God. We have to look at the gift as it is given to us, how it comes naturally.
- Coins: the gift of sexuality has two sides just like a coin. One side is unitive, the other is procreative. When you separate the two sides of a coin, it is no longer a coin.
- Every use of sexuality should respect both sides.
- JPII imagined this like a diamond with four points. The four points are free, faithful, fruitful, and total.
- Fruitful—open to new life
- total—not holding back on any aspect of who you are.
Session IV: Leading With Soul by Dr. Lee Bolman (professor at UMKC)
Note: This lecture was not at all what I expected after reading the description, however, it was an enjoyable session.
· Wrote the book Leading with Soul for business leaders who are trying to be leaders addressing the soul as well as the business world. Leadership Spirituality
· The book is not addressed to a particular religious faith
· Modern leaders do not know how to talk about faith and morals.
· How can we talk about leadership spiritually but ecumenically?
· Qualities of Great Leadership
o Focus—a clear sense of direction
o Passion—rooted in love. When you love your work, the people you’re with, and the place you’re at, it’s easy to be passionate.
o Courage—even leaders who aren’t in danger of getting killed face real risks.
o Wisdom—to decide what to do.
o Integrity—People only follow those they trust.
· Extraordinary leaders are people of extraordinarily powerful, deep faith.
· For many people, that deep faith is a challenge.
· What is soul?
o CCC on soul—“Soul signifies the spiritual principle in man.”
o His preferred definition: a bedrock sense of self—who you are, values, what I really believe in
· The search for soul as a lifelong journey.
· So, in this definition of soul, it can be characteristic of a couple.
· This idea of soul could also apply to an organization.
· Soul makes a huge difference in whether an organization succeeds.
· Soul as a core ideology.
· Companies should have a core ideology.
· You should focus on something deeper than the bottom line in business, something deeper and more important than the profit.
· For companies, profits should be like oxygen—necessary, but not the purpose.
· Poem by Rumi:
All day I think about it,
then at night I say it.
Where did I come from,
and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere,
I'm sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.
· Questions about origin, purpose, meaning, destination…these are the basic spiritual questions.
· The twin faiths of technology and consumerism are not making us happy.
· There’s got to be something more to life than shiny new technology.
· Joseph Campbell—The Hero’s Journey
· There’s really only one story people care about and they care about it so much that they keep retelling it.
· 3 Parts of the spiritual journey
- Leaving home—escaping shackles of convention
- The Quest—entering the wilderness, plunging the depths, confronting demons
- Returning Home—Armed with gifts earned on the quest
· Clip from The Lion King: Simba following Rafiki through the woods to see the reflection
· Antonio Machado
· Walt Whitman—Passage to India
· Leadership gifts that we as leaders can give to others:
o Authorship: helping other paint their own canvas. Art is important because of the making f it and the pride in being able to make, produce, and create. As parents or leaders, we sometimes do things for others that they really should do themselves.
o Power: enabling others to feel they make a difference. We make others feel they can make a difference.
o Love: Caring, compassion… we must choose the person or the relationship over the meeting.
o Significance: Find meaning in contribution; is what we’re doing important? What the heck is it all about?
· Clip from Ghandi… a leaders gives all four of these in two minutes to a total stranger—redemption is possible.
· “I know a way out of Hell…”
· Ghandi showed compassion
· Rather than judging, he asks why
· Penance and reconciliation
· another Rumi poem
In this world you have three companions:
One is faithful, the others are treacherous.
The latter are friends and possessions;
the faithful one is excellence in deeds.
Your wealth won’t come with you out of your palace;
your friend will come, but only as far as the grave.
When the day of doom comes to meet you,
your friend will say, “I’ve come this far, but no farther.
I will stand a while at your grave.”
Your deeds alone are faithful: make them your refuge,
for they alone will accompany you into the depths of the tomb.
Session V: What Does the Catholic Church teach about Evolution? by Dr. John Norris (UD Theology professor)
Note: I took a class with Dr. Norris on this topic, so my notes are pretty bare. If you want more information, I’ll have to get you my class notes. Sorry!
· We live in a two truth world: science and faith
· Evolutionary Theory: Random mutations at the genetic level were passed on through offspring. These random mutations help the individual with these traits to survive more than others. Eventually the variation is distinct enough that there is no interbreeding and there is a separate species.
· Evolutionary problems for theology:
o What role does randomness mean in evolution?
o How does survival of the fittest describe human existence?
o In what sense is God no longer necessary to help understand the world? Is God just the God of the gaps?
· Philosophical Materialism—Dawkins: God as a God of the gaps… in this theory
o random mutation denies any kind of divine causality or creation
o God is merely a God of the gaps and is no longer necessary when the gaps are explained.
o Science is a primary means of knowing.
· Principles for a Catholic Approach to the relationship between faith and science
o Truth does not contradict truth.
o Revelation and Theology come from God.
o Church teaching is inspired by God.
· We can sort of have a playroom together for scientists and theologians.
· Dei Filius—problems arise from theology making claims that are faulty or beyond its competence… same thing from science. Both have their own domains, methods, and limitations.
· Barbour’s 4 models of interactions between faith and science: Conflict, Independence, Dialogue, and Integrations
· Growth and Change in Catholic theology
o John Cardinal Newman
o Semper Idem—always the same… this is not true in Catholic history.
o There’s a continuity, but also authentic development
o Recognition of proper authority of levels of teaching
Session VI— Catechist as Witness: Embracing Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life by Dr. Diana Dudoit Raiche, Ph.D.
· John 14:6… Judas has just left the last supper and Jesus says that he must go where they cannot go.
· Who is Jesus? Who is Jesus for me? When did you become aware of Jesus as the Son of God?
· It is the relationship with Jesus that is critical for every catechist. It invites, calls, propels us to become leaders.
· We do it because it is Good News and we’ve been called.
· My teaching is not my own, but it is from the one who sent me. Christ said this and so do we.
· 1 Corinthians 15:3
· NDC calls for witnesses to the faith
· CCC states that at the heart of Catechesis is Jesus (CCC 426)
· Catechesi Tradendae
· As human beings, we mirror the actions of Judas, Peter’s denial, Thomas’ doubt, John’s loyalty, Mary Magdalene’s awe.
· Each of us carries within us a way of understanding Jesus was given to us.
· The Jesus we know and experience is the only one we can share with others.
· We have four lenses to look at Jesus:
· As we think, we believe. As we believe, we act.
· Jesus as Mystery:
o Mark 4:11—Jesus says the mystery of the Kingdom has been granted to you.
o Dr. Raiche always begins her classes with a discussion of the Kingdom of God.
o You can’t not believe in heaven if you’re with a dying person who has deep faith.
o The key to grasping mystery comes through experiencing it in history. –Karl Rahner
o Modern day search for mystery—we look in all the wrong places.
· Jesus as Myth:
o When we consider Jesus as myth, it’s when we take Jesus off the cross. We want a tame Christ. (He’s not a tame lion. – C.S.L.)
o When we think of the myth of scripture, it must be grounded in a firm faith.
· Jesus as Messiah:
o The woman at the well attests to Jesus as the Messiah
o Jesus as Lord… he receives this title on many, many occasions.
o Every good Catechist shares their faith story. How did you come to understand who Jesus is and who he is for you?
· Jesus as Man, the son of Mary and Joseph:
o Central theme of Christian anthropology… grace
o Catechesis is a work of evangelization. Jesus is the context of that evangelization.
o We must guard our truths very carefully… blood was shed in the streets to establish our doctrine.
o once we accept Jesus, we can be catechized.
o You cannot give to someone what they are not willing to accept.
Session VII: Together on the Journey of Hope: Reflections on the Responsibilities of Lay Catholics for treatment of Migrants and Immigrants by Dr. John Norris
· USCCB document, “Strangers No Longer” (published January 22, 2003) is the source of much of this talk.
· VII and Cardinal George recap
o Remember his definition of church as the sacrament of the unity of humanity.
o We have to get the Church’s act together so that it can make a difference in the world for the better.
· Catholics and immigration reform—is there an awareness of Catholic principles among Catholic people? [From what I’ve seen, that would be a resounding no.]
· How can we best teach people about Catholic teachings on immigration?
· Authority Level of social justice teaching
o Some think that because this teaching isn’t infallible or longstanding, it’s not important for Catholic teaching
o There are principles that are part of Catholic dogma included in social teaching… for example, human dignity.
· Prudential Application—there is a lot of spectrum for how one applies principles of dogma.
· Those who seek to migrate are suffering.
· Many are tragically dying
· Human rights are being abused
· Catholics must be concerned about this
· We believe human being have rights that are inherent to their dignity… these rights are being abused.
· Families are being kept apart.
· Racist/xenophobic attitudes
· John XXIII
· Principles of Catholic faith are looked at as a means for arguing for reform. Examples: VII and the Church in the modern world, Common good and natural law theory.
· Some think we are just supposed to be individuals and not ask for systematic reform… this is wrong
· Our government is not working right and we have a responsibility to speak out. This is part of our call to be prophets mentioned in session II.
· It is a Lay Responsibility to make these reforms happen—make a difference in the world.
· Lumen Gentium emphasizes that all Christians are Christ-like and so called to be prophet and king.
· We must see the injustice and stand up, do something about it.
· In this process, we have to accept that people of good faith can have different visions and disagree.
· Exodus 23:9—You shall not oppress a resident alien.
· We must be grateful for things we did not earn—we did not earn being American.
· Matthew 25:35-36
· Christ welcomes the stranger
· If we’re going to be Christians and think all human beings have human dignity, we must be welcoming
· Gaudium et Spes
· This is the heart of the Church in the modern world and we must protect it.
· Emphasis on personal charity in the pastoral letter:
o Economic Theory
o Political Responsibility
o Universal Human Rights
o International Accords
· Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families.
o Like Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of private property—it is considered moral to steal bread if you have no other way of feeding yourself.
o Private property is not an absolute right.
o Neither are government boundaries.
· All the goods of the earth belong to all people.
· Sovereign Nations have the right to control their borders, but not merely for the purpose of acquiring additional wealth.
· The human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected.
· Focus on the term “undocumented,” not “illegal.”
· Government policies that respect human rights of undocumented migrants are necessary.
· The USCCB’s vision is balanced. They recognize protecting rights of US families and workers, recognizing rights to protect borders, but also recognizing the rights of the migrant.
· The sovereign state may impose reasonable limits on immigration
· Nations able to receive migrants should do so whenever possible.
· There are people called to prophesy and people called to diplomacy… not necessarily to both.
· Prophets must not overstate their case and must not be disrespectful.
· We have to be careful what we say as prophets—some of the stupid things said at rallies and marches have hurt the cause more than helped.
· The Bishops’ call:
o support for migrant and immigrant families
o hospitality, not hostility for migrant families along their journey
o Migrant shelters that provide appropriate pastoral and social services.
o Work with community to address the causes of undocumented migration—1st world nations like the US enter into development of these countries, but we only do so for our own benefit.
o Help newcomers to integrate
o Special attention for migrant and immigrant children—educational support for undocumented young people.
o Dedicate resources to provide pastoral care for migrants who are detained or incarcerated.
o Encourage local diocese to sponsor pertinent social services for migrants.
o encourage local parishioners to be home missionaries.
o Earned Legalization
§ for foreign nationals of good character
§ create a path to citizenship
o Future worker program to permit foreign born workers to enter the country legally and safely
§ should include safeguards against displacement of US workers
· Questions to consider:
o How are we prophets?
o Do we profit from the work of migrants?
· Alabama Law—criminalizes anyone who has any contact with a migrant worker who does not turn him/her in.
· This is not right. Christian religions must have the opportunity to provide charity and help.
· Comparison to Nazi Germany at the beginning…
· Change should be welcoming and Christ-like, not losing our identity.
· Change should be slow and communal.
· A lot of times what we’re doing is accommodating and separating. That’s not communal.