This Saturday is the day of the meeting for the self-selecting representatives of Diocese of Clifton to get together and discuss the initial findings of the Bishop's Seeking the Face of Christ initiative. I will be in distant lands so will not be able to attend, though I would like to.
The Bishop's aim was to find the "vision of the sort of Church the Lord is calling us to be", the pdf is available from the Clifton website.
The document meditates on our shared vision through the following themes: "made in the image and likeness of God", "God in all things", "communion of God's people" and "revealing the face of Christ". We, the Bishop's flock, had been asked for our views.
I hope and pray that the findings (which I did my best to contribute to) make reference to the priesthood, the Bishop's document doesn't. I hope there is more than a fleeting mention of the sacraments and that they are mentioned by name, his document does not. It would be nice if the Eucharist was mentioned and its central and essential significance stressed, unlike the Bishop's document which doesn't mention the Eucharist once.
I do not intend to knock Bishop Lang or criticise his efforts. I hope that the less than transparent consultation reveals the desires of the Catholic community in general and not just those who speak the same language as the Bishop (his document is not easy to respond to), however I have my doubts.
Maybe I'm just a hot head, self-opinionated and with my own exclusive, selective agenda. I found the whole procedure very isolating, there was no chance of parish based, prayerful discussion on the document. Surely, the Catholic Church, through the sacraments and the prayers of the faithful is the surest way to find the face of Christ (isn't that what has successfully happened for 2000 years?). The Church exists to save as many souls as possible and to strengthen both the religious and the laity to "take it to the streets".
Bishop Lang's document is poles apart from the language and tone of the Holy Father, whose words so often make my heart leap for joy.
We must pray hard that God's will be done.
Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Colette, pray for us.