Sunday, 30 December 2012

Presidents and Christadelphia

LBJ (Photo credit: kevin dooley)
Presidents and Christadelphia? "(President) Lyndon Johnson was raised a Baptist, but later became a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Lyndon Johnson's Grandfather  became a Christadelphian, following his wife and daughter.
Kyle Tucker The LBJ ranch surrounds the Christadelphian Bible School in Hye, TX. LBJ himself was not a big fan of the Christadelphians.
Anna Williams Duvall I thought that the Bible school was donated by LBJ'a grandmother?
English: Christian Church Disciples of Christ ...
English: Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Brunswick, New York, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ady Miles Amazing his grandfather and close relatives turned to Christadelphia when he turned to war!
 (Dave BurkeHe was not the he first president to recognize our CO status, and not require jail time.  Our conscientious objection had already been successfully recognised without penalty during the American Civil War.
Kay McGrath Ady, brother George Booker wrote a few posts on E-D (ecclesia-discuss) several years ago ... as did several others, and they were of the Berean fellowship ... one comment was 1997:

"the Hye Bible Camp bordering the grounds of the LBJ Ranch.

Johnson's father, who knew the Christadelphian teaching,  desired to be baptized on his deathbed. As the Unamended tell the story, the "Bereans" refused to baptise him.

This is what led to Johnsons antagonism toward the Christadelphians, manifested by his occasional visits to the Bible Camp complete with secret service entourage where he would stamp on the ground raising a duststorm (easily accomplished in that part of the country during certain times of the year)."

and further:

"we attended the Texas Bible School several years ago, one of the elder sisters in the ecclesia there related the story about LBJ, his father, etc. She also went on to tell of how he (LBJ) hated the Christadelphians so much that he became intent on taking the land upon which the Bible School sits, which does actually border the LBJ ranch. On his way to the courthouse to file suit to take over the land, he was stricken with his fatal heart attack."

Though George's accounts of "Cousin Oreole" are wonderful to read!

Robert Lloyd Lyndon Johnson did not ever become a Christadelphian although many members of his family were but none of his immediate family.
English: Lyndon B. Johnson at his ranch in Sep...
English: Lyndon B. Johnson at his ranch in September 1972 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Monday, 24 December 2012

Those who call the Christadelphians a cult

Glenn Joseph Lea was annoyed at Google for when searching for Christadelphians, the term Christadelphian Cult comes up as one of the search phrases.

He should know that shall happen with other smaller religious groups as well. But he has reasons to complain on what he can find on those websites who tell people that we are a cult. We also found that at those websites telling us that we are a cult, they often present a wrong picture of our denomination. Often they even tell gross lies which can not be rectified because there is no way to reply provided. And when there is a comment section the comments we give and the explanation we provide about what cults really are and what we do believe and do not believe, they mostly let our reply not published or send us different sorts of letters, some hate mail, others with viruses, and others saying that we have to read such and such other postings before they want to place our reply in the open.

Mostly the label “cult” is applied to the Christadelphians because they do find that because we do not accept the Trinity, we can not belong to Christianity, like Jehovah Witnesses,  Abrahamic Faith Churches can not considered Christian according to them.
Jesus cult logo
Jesus cult logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All about Cults“  uses the term “cult” because we are a group of believers which "claims to follow Christian doctrines. Though they have a belief that there is only one God, Christadelphians’ doctrine is clearly non-Christian (James 2:19)." Strange that we, who do believe that there is only One God, which is the same God Abraham believed in and the God of Judaism, are considered to be a cult, but the Jews and Muslims not. So, why does this website not include Judaism, Islam, and a mulitude of other world religions?

English: Christadelphian Hall, Skircoat, Halif...
Christadelphian Hall, Skircoat, Halifax This building looks to have been a Methodist (?) chapel.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Those discussing the Christadelphians do seem either not to know so much about them or their gospelfaith and could better do some more and thorough research. Other websites with a more hating tone are written by ex-Christadelphians, who should know better. The majority of those ex-christadelphians have left faith in God totally. By ex-Jehovah Witnesses we often see the same thing happening, that they offer a lot of stories about their faith group where you can have doubts if they are really true. By them lots also become strong adherents of the Holy-Trinity or find the singing and speaking in tongues by the Pentecostals more attracting  and good fun .
But those who leave the more serious Biblestudent mouvements, their hate and distorted view from what they underwent in their community does not create a good sound review. Strangely enough very small groups are often protected as main streams. As such we can find a recurring error that the “Bereans are the most popular” (popular to whom, in what context, where?) when you look to the worldwide community of Christadelphians you would notice that they only form a small part. some would even say: "they barely exist today".

The peaceful, pacifist Christadelphians are perhaps not so quickly noticed by people, first of all because we are not with so many and secondly we never force our ideas to others. We do preach, but not often going to ring the bell from door to door like Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons. We prefer the softer way of putting leaflets in the mailboxes, where we are authorised to do so. (We always keep to the red, blue and green stickers if they are on the mailbox and never would put a leaflet in a box where is a notice on it not to put unrequested advertisements or unsolicited or non personal mail in it) We like to tell others what we believe, but always keep respecting their beliefs, and do not force to accept our beliefs or our faith.

ChristadelphiansChurchBrisbane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Christadelphians do not have an overall structure with one basic leader, like the Roman Catholics have their Pope. We only follow Jesus Christ, whose teachings can be found in the New Testament. All the different Christadelphian ecclesiae are independent in essence, though they may have international connections with each other and adhere certain main groups. but every Christadelphian is personally responsible for his or her actions. Nobody is tied to one or another group or institution. everybody is free to come and free to go.Not exactly the idea of a cult, where it is mostly very easy to come into but very difficult to get out.

Googling The Christadelphians leads to plenty of websites denouncing this community, but also an awareness of the reaasoning for the denouncement – soley based on a rejection of orthodox Christianity. That is very sloppy reasoning and only serves to show how little basis they have for such a derogatory term.

Please do read the article by Glenn Joseph Lea: Googling “Christadelphian”

find also:

What Christadelphians teach
Who, what are Christadlephian people
Christadelphian beliefs

Association of Christadelphians: Christadelphia


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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Democratic principles for the church of today

Several Catholic clergymen did find again the way church has to be build.

Marie-Therese van Lunen Chenu
Dr Marie-Thérèse van Lunen Chenu 

"The history of the birth of the 1983 code of church law speaks volumes as regards the collusion between magisterium, theology and law. There was not one woman among the 127 members of the Commission for revision of Canon Law (1982 directory) and if some lay people were consulted, how many of those were women? Who chose them? The Roman hierarchy, it is well known, as regards the issue of women, has never agreed to create a structure which would truly give them a voice. Anyone who knows the already lengthy history of the attempts of feminism and women’s associations to dialogue with the religious authorities, would consider they had the right to doubt the true legitimacy of a jurisdiction and a theological function which remains the monopoly of an exclusively masculine authority. The first Convention on the rights of women, adopted at Seneca Falls in the USA in 1848, declared: 'Man has usurped the prerogatives of Jehovah himself, in assigning the sphere of action to woman, when this belongs to the conscience of the woman herself and to God."
Prof Daniel C. Maguire  says " Most Catholic theologians today are scandalously timid in reimagining the new forms the church should be taking today. For at least a century after Jesus the idea of a monarchical bishop in charge of a diocese was not the norm."

From the beginning Jesus envisaged that important decisions should be taken by the whole group of his disciples, by the 'community'. In the case of a dispute between believers which cannot be resolved amicably, Jesus recommends: "Report it to the community" (Matthew 18,15-17). Such common decisions, Jesus added, will be sanctioned in heaven, i.e. by God (Mattthew 18,18; see also Mt 18,19-20).

“And if your brother sins against you, go and reprove him, between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. “But if he does not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word might be established.’ “And if he refuses to hear them, say it to the assembly. And if he refuses even to hear the assembly, let him be to you like a gentile and a tax collector. “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind {1} on earth shall be having been bound {1} in heaven, and whatever you loosen {1} on earth shall be having been loosened1 in heaven. {Footnote: 1 Binding and loosening is Hebidiom for exercising authority (to prohibit and permit).}
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning any matter that they ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in the heavens. “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there I am in their midst.” (Matthew 18:15-20 The Scriptures 1998+)

 The word used for 'community' in Matthew's Greek Gospel is εκκλήσία - ecclesia in Latin - which soon became the common expression for a Christian community [= church]. εκκλήσία stood for 'the whole community', and more specifically: 'the community in full assembly'. In the hellenistic [= Greek] world of the Early Church, decisions made by an εκκλήσία were made democratically - another Greek word. It means that all members of the εκκλήσία had a vote in the assembly.

When we read the Acts of the apostles we can see that a sort of democratic process was the rule in the formation of the meetings and in the working together of those who wanted to follow Jesus. To the community, never was demanded to follow one person in particular.

Torchlit procession to mark the 50th anniversa...
Torchlit procession to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council at the Vatican (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))
It is very significant that the apostles addressed their inspired letters to the whole community - εκκλήσία - in a particular town. “For instance: 'I, Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle, sends greetings to the church (εκκλήσία) of God in Corinth, to the holy people of Jesus Christ . . .' ” (1 Corinthians 1,1-2.) Several priests and bishops are now aware that "Church" denoted not the hierarchy, nor an institution but the People of God. They say that the Second Vatican Council stressed this notion again in Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium § 9-17. And the Council reiterated that all members of the People of God share in responsibility, and therefore in a measure of authority, for the whole community. Every baptised person carries authority as priest, prophet and queen/king with Christ and takes part in Christ's universal mission.

“The faithful who, by baptism are incorporated into Christ, are placed in the people of God, and in their own way share the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ, and to the best of their ability carry on the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.”
Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium § 31.
At last they know that Each member of the People of God shares responsibility for the good of the whole community of faith. In the community it is not just one person who is responsible for all the others or who can lead all the others telling them what to do or what not to do.

"By divine institution Holy Church is ordered and governed with a wonderful diversity. "For just as in one body we have many members, yet all the members have not the same function, so we, the many, are one body in Christ, but severally members one of another"(Romans 12,14-6). Therefore, the chosen People of God is one: "one Lord, one faith, one baptism"(Ephesians 4,5); sharing a common dignity as members from their regeneration in Christ, having the same filial grace and the same vocation to perfection; possessing in common one salvation, one hope and one undivided charity. There is, therefore, in Christ and in the Church no inequality on,the basis of race or nationality, social condition or sex, because "there is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all 'one' in Christ Jesus"(Galatians 3,28; cf. Colossians 3,11).
If therefore in the Church everyone does not proceed by the same path, nevertheless all are called to sanctity and have received an equal privilege of faith through the justice of God(cf. 2 Peter 1,1). And if by the will of Christ some are made teachers, pastors and dispensers of mysteries on behalf of others, yet all share a true equality with regard to the dignity and to the activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ. "
Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium § 32. 
For I say, through the favour which has been given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he should think, but to think soberly, as Elohim has given to each a measure of belief. For as we have many members in one body, but all members do not have the same function, so we, the many, are one body in Messiah, and members each one of one another. Now having different gifts, according to the favour which was given to us, let us use them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of belief; if serving, in the serving; or he who is teaching, in the teaching; or he who encourages, in the encouragement; or he who is sharing, in sincerity; he who is leading, in diligence; he who shows compassion, joyously.
(Romans 12:3-8 The Scriptures 1998+)
Brothers, as a man I say it: a covenant, even though it is man’s, yet if it is confirmed, no one sets it aside, or adds to it.
(Galatians 3:15 The Scriptures 1998+)

But the Scripture has shut up all mankind under sin, that the promise by belief in יהושע  {Jeshua} Messiah might be given to those who believe. But before belief came, we were being guarded under Torah, having been shut up for the belief being about to be revealed. Therefore the Torah became our trainer unto Messiah, in order to be declared right by belief. And after belief has come, we are no longer under a trainer. For you are all sons of Elohim through belief in Messiah יהושע . For as many of you as were immersed into Messiah have put on Messiah. There is not Yehuḏite nor Greek, there is not slave nor free, there is not male and female, for you are all one in Messiah יהושע . And if you are of Messiah, then you are seed of Aḇraham, and heirs according to promise.
(Galatians 3:22-29 The Scriptures 1998+)

When the Messiah, who is our life, is manifested, then you also shall be manifested with Him in esteem. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: whoring, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and greed of gain, which is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of Elohim is coming upon the sons of disobedience,{1 Footnote: 1Eph. 2:2, Eph. 5:6. in which you also once walked when you lived in them.} But now, also put off all these: displeasure, wrath, evil, blasphemy, filthy talk from your mouth. Do not lie to each other, since you have put off the old man {1} with his practices, {Footnote: 1Rom. 6:6, Eph. 4:22.} and have put on the new one who is renewed in knowledge according to the likeness of Him who created him, where there is not Greek and Yehuḏite, circumcised and uncircumcised, foreigner, Scythian, slave, free, but Messiah is all, and in all. Therefore, as chosen ones of Elohim, set-apart and beloved, put on compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other if anyone has a complaint against another, indeed, as Messiah forgave you so also should you. But above all these put on love, which is a bond of the perfection. And let the peace of Elohim rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one Body, and be filled with thanks. Let the Word of Messiah {1} dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing with pleasure in your hearts to the Master in psalms and songs of praise and spiritual songs. {Footnote: 1John 12:48, Dt. 18:19, Rev. 19:13.} And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Master  יהושע, giving thanks to Elohim the Father through Him.
(Colossians 3:4-17 The Scriptures 1998+)
God distributes the gifts of the Spirit to the faithful of every rank. That is why all rightly share in the decision making processes of and for the community.

Ministry of the Apostles, a complex multi-figu...
Ministry of the Apostles, a complex multi-figure icon with a full-height image of Jesus Christ, surrounded by sectors with scenes of His disciples' calling, ministry and martyrdom. Icon from the Yaroslavl Museum Preserve. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When the Church grew and became more organised, it assimilated government structures first from the Roman Empire, then from the secular kingdoms of the Middle Ages. Soon it was to adapt certain pagan rites and ideas as well as holy days, because other-while they would come in trouble with the local governing committees.To make it easier to get in unison with the civil governing official they introduced the civil ruling system and hierarchy.  The exercise of authority became top-down, hierarchical and feudalistic.

Anno 2012 many bishops and priest of the Roman curia find that "While retaining some of the useful organizational tools acquired in the past, the Church of our own time should re-instal the pattern of true universal co-responsibility envisaged by Christ and the apostles. It can do so by adopting many of the excellent democratic principles of the secular societies in which we live."

God does not want us to follow people or institutions. Also Jesus did not to take him as the wonder-doer  or to honour him. He told people to listen to his words but to recognise them as the message from his Father, to whom we also should pray "Our Father". In many of his parables and preachings Jesus clearly showed others he importance of following the One and Only One True God, his Father in heaven.

As the seed of Abraham we should be one united people. We may not be isolated individuals but should be one family and behave like brothers and sisters in Christ. Jehovah God wants us all to be part of the salvation not as a “me and Jesus” thing. Rather, He desires to save us as His Set -Apart or holy, beloved people. Each individual in the Church of God has to submit himself to the Master Builder's hand. Our sacrifices offered to God must be of ourselves; each in our measure must try to follow Jeshua (Jesus) who set himself apart and kept away from sin, living a life according to the commandments of his Father, the Elohim Jehovah God. This anointed one, who offered himself, is the one we should follow.

Because it is contained in the Scripture, “See, I lay in Tsiyon a chief corner-stone, chosen, precious, and he who believes on Him shall by no means be put to shame.” {1} {Footnote: 1Isa. 28:16.} This preciousness, then, is for you who believe; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone,”{1} {Footnote: 1Ps. 118:22.} and “A stone of stumbling and a rock that makes for falling,”{1} who stumble because they are disobedient {2} to the Word, to which they also were appointed. {Footnotes: 1Isa. 8:14. 2See John 3:36, Heb. 3:18.}
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light, who once were not a people, but now the people of Elohim; who had not obtained compassion, but now obtained compassion.
(1 Peter 2:6-10 The Scriptures 1998+)

So do not be ashamed of the witness of our Master, nor of me His prisoner, but suffer hardship with me for the Good News according to the power of Elohim, who has saved us and called us with a set-apart calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and favour which was given to us in Messiah יהושע  before times of old, but now revealed by the appearing of our Saviour יהושע  Messiah, who indeed abolished death and brought life and incorruptibility to light through the Good News,
(2 Timothy 1:8-10 The Scriptures 1998+)
All those who call themselves Christian should be followers of Jesus, keeping to his words and holding his commandments, going out in the world preaching the Good News, evangelizing and bringing as much people back to Jesus his Father, Jehovah God.

God nor Jesus never intended Church to be a bureaucracy. It had to be a means to feel united as children of God and to give live structure under the guidance of the Word of God.
All Christians should have a greater awareness that our faith is necessarily ecclesial. The ecclesia should be the home of the people who want to follow Christ and continue their search to come as close as possible to the Father of Jesus, who is also our Father and should be the only Holy Father.
It is in the ecclesia that faith should be celebrated, lived, and shared in brotherly love, with respect and equality for everybody.

Democratic principles

Leonard Swidler"We can learn tried and tested democratic principles such as the following:
* creating councils through which people's voice can be heard;
* the fair election of leaders;
* accountability for all entrusted with tasks;
* a limited term for office holders;
* transparency;
* ensuring that all groups in the Church are duly represented;
* due process of law;
* and the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers."
Len Swidler


Do find the call on all members of the People of God to assess the situation in the Catholic church.: Due democratic process should be used in decision making. > Catholic Scholars' Jubilee Declaration

Please do read:
  1. What and why Ecclesia
  2. Meetings
  3. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  4. Reasons to come to gether
  5. Look for your Refuge by God
  6. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit
  7. Position and power
  8. Raising digression
  9. Politics and power first priority #1
  10. Politics and power first priority #2
  11. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  12. The Ecclesia in the churchsystem
  13. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  14. Philippians 1 – 2

 Also of interest:

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Saturday, 22 December 2012

People are turning their back on Christianity

English: Catholic Church in Europe - percentag...
Catholic Church in Europe - percentage by country (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the world Christians number 2.2 billion, or about one-in-three (32%) people worldwide. About half of all Christians are Catholic (50%). An estimated 37% of Christians belong to the Protestant tradition, broadly defined to include Anglicans as well as independent and nondenominational churches. The Orthodox Communion, including the Greek and Russian Orthodox, make up 12% of Christians. And people who belong to other traditions that view themselves as Christian (including Christian Scientists, Mormons, Christadelphians and Jehovah’s Witnesses) make up about 1% of the global Christian population.

Most Christians (87%) live in countries where Christians are in the majority. Of the 232 countries and territories included in this study, 157 have Christian majorities. However, most of the Christian-majority countries have relatively small populations: about seven-in-ten have fewer Christians than the Christian-minority country of Vietnam (7 million Christians).

Last year’s census in England about faith showed that most of the English people are not really interested in faith, God and religion. Nearly one-in-three people declared themselves to be non-religious.

The number identifying themselves as Christians in England  is down 13 percentage points. In 2001, 72% (37.3 million) called themselves Christians. In 2011 that had dropped to 59% (33.2 million).


Interestingly, Christianity is not down everywhere. Newham, Haringey, Brent, Boston and Lambeth have all shown increases in the Christian population.

The 2011 census has seen the proportion of Christians in North Somerset drop from 75 per cent to 61 per cent during the past decade – a fall of about 18,000 people.
While the percentage of Buddhists, Jews, Muslims and Hindus have remained stable, the proportion of those indicated they had no religious affiliation has almost doubled to 30 per cent.

Sunday mass attendance in England and Wales has fallen by half from the 1.8m recorded in 1960; the average age of parishioners has risen from 37 in 1980 to 52 now. In America attendance has declined by over a third since 1960. Less than 5% of French Catholics attend regularly, and only 15% in Italy. Yet as the mainstream wanes, traditionalists wax.

Reverend Gill Putnam, lead chaplain for Chaplaincy about Town, played down fears that North Somerset, and the country as a whole, are shunning religious practices.
She said: “We are still predominantly a Christian nation. Those who have no religious affiliation or who don’t think of themselves affiliated to any church organisation, will have some sort of faith as we are all spiritual beings.”

That the institutional Catholic Church is in a state of crisis is surely an understatement. It has been widely castigated and scorned for the disclosures of sexual abuse and its grossly inadequate response, including cover-ups and protection of perpetrators.

English: Mar Mathew Arackal (Bishop of Kanjira...
English: Mar Mathew Arackal (Bishop of Kanjirappally Eparchy) and Rev. Dr. Prasant Palakkappilly C.M.I (Principal, Thevara Sacred Heart College) along with other priests at the tomb of Servant of God Fr. Varghese Payapilly Palakkappilly. Mar Thoma Cross, symbolizing the heritage and identity of the Syrian Church of Saint Thomas Christians, is seen in the hands of the bishop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Professional theologians the last few years showed their dissatisfaction with the state of affairs. In Austria started a much more radical Catholic priests’ initiative, for a “Call for disobedience”, later repeated in Belgium.The Protestant church of the Netherlands (PKN = Protestantse Kerk Nederland) and the Flemish Catholic priests launched in 2007 and 2011 a Manifest for believers Manifest “Gelovigen nemen het woord”,

The first manifest: Manifest ‘Wij kiezen voor eenheid’ or ‘We choose for unity’ consecrated on the union many believers of the Christian faith wanted to see between all those who call themselves Christian. a lot of Christians where found discussing and created confusion by lots of people. The whole situation with all the disasters of sex-abuse, financial fraud, dishonesty made the belief and church-business distasteful. An unacceptable abuse of power and lack of accountability, by many of the bishops and Vatican officials, in complete contravention of the decisions and declarations at Vatican II in favour of a collegial church, and a Church of all the people, mad people draw away from the Catholic church but also from Christianity.

The manifesto for believers Manifest “Gelovigen nemen het woord” presented to the Belgian belief community at the turn of the year hit like a bomb.  It got the approval from 8233 religiously but had probably more counter parts.  A lot of Roman Catholics launched a counter attack. In the month January the reaction was so violently that the initiators took away their website with further definitions.{See: Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant)

A big problem in history of Christianity is that from the 4th century power became more important and priests and bishops became vicars of the pope. the clergy became very much connected with particular institutions and represented more a denomination instead representing Christ and working for God.

No only the ordinary civilian has had doubts of what is written in the Bible, many theologians, who had already mixed a lot of philosophical and pagan teaching in their writings confused people more and they themselves became also so confused that many did not mind openly to declare that they did not believe in God. How in Gods name could they than bring people to God?

The Catholic clergy is aware that abuse of choosing for leadership offices in the church only candidates of a particular mindset, should be eradicated.They would like to see new norms to be laid down and supervised to ensure that elections to such offices are conducted in a fair, transparent and, to the extent possible, democratic fashion.

The reality of today's Catholic Church is that the Spirit is suppressed in many ways. Lay people have no channel to voice their insights and take decisions. Theologians are muzzled. Free expression through normal church media is virtually non-existent. Even Bishops Conferences and the Central Synod of Bishops cannot genuinely make their own contributions. Paul's warnings: "Do not extinguish the Spirit! Do not treat the gift of prophecy with contempt!" (1 Thessalonians 5,19), are not heeded at all.

The Reverend Michael Keane, a contemporary of the signatories to the Irish Bishops Pastoral, The Work of Justice, was recently reinstated after a 23 year suspension visited on him in response to challenges based on conscience writes: 
“People today talk much about following their own conscience. Yet the strange thing is that this is the very time when so many people will follow with blind obedience in whatever direction their conscience is led by their group or movement or political party, their firm, or union, or professional organisation. We allow much of our moral thinking to be done for us by committees or by ‘headquarters’, or by the mass media. We need to inform and educate our conscience and have the courage to stand by it even if we stand alone. We cannot rest content with situations where we find ourselves as members of some organisation, doing things which personally we would never do and which privately we know to be wrong, or failing to say or do things we know to be our duty. As someone put it recently, ‘We must not allow governments, corporations and unions to do our sinning for us’. Selfish, sectional and unjust actions committed by my group are in part my responsibility. It is not enough, to examine my conscience about my personal behaviour, I need also to examine myself about actions of a group of which I am a member.” 

The Second Vatican Council prescribed collegiality and co-responsibility on all levels. This has not been realised. Priestly senates and pastoral councils, as envisaged by the Council, should involve the faithful more directly in decision making concerning the formulation of doctrine, the running of the pastoral ministry and evangelization in secular society.

The Roman curia requires a more radical reform, in line with the instructions and vision of Vatican II. The curia should be retained for its useful administrative and executive roles.

To bring religious matters to the public they would love to see a congregation for the doctrine of the faith being assisted by international commissions of experts who have been independently chosen for their professional competence.

The exercise of authority in the Catholic church should emulate the standards of openness, according to the protesting priests, who understand that the principal source of present-day stagnation lies in misunderstanding and abuse affecting the exercise of authority in our Church.
The role of the papacy needs to be clearly re-defined in line with Christ's intentions they do find. "As supreme pastor, unifier and prime witness to faith, the pope contributes substantially to the health of the universal church. However, his authority may never obscure, diminish or suppress the authentic authority directly given by Christ to all members of the people of God." they say.

It is because the leadership could not be seen to be honest and credible; inspired by humility and service; breathing concern for people that many believers lost faith in the church.
In many denominations people could see that those churches where preoccupied with rules and a one-sided discipline.

The attitude of certain denominations to people who are feeling different than the majority creates also a lot of problems.
In a speech to the Vatican Curia today, Pope Benedict made what is considered to be one of his strongest attacks yet on gay marriage. Over the past few years, the Pope has made known his opposition to homosexual conduct in no uncertain terms, previously describing it as an “objective disorder“. This view has been repeated by numerous representatives of his senior executive team throughout the world.
Such strong words and showing not a Christian love for other people is still getting more people leaving that church.

Instead of finding a liberating faith, many people did find that those churches were trying to put them in chains of obedience to the institution. Those churches are and were not radiating a Christ who makes us free.

We have to face the reality that we live in a fallen and broken world.  People are sinful and are not perfect – that is the simple truth.  Also clergy can do faults and are not free of sin. They are people like all other people, but who should take on the function of being an example for others. So they should be even more careful not to sin, and to live impeccable.

To stop people turning their back to church, it has to think seriously how to be representatives of God and how they can form a community worthy of the Lord.


Do find:
Catholic Scholar's Jubilee Declaration

Please do read:
Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder

Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement

Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant

Find also in Dutch:
  1. Een Manifest voor Gelovigen


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