TO THINK WITH THE CHURCH +ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO, O.M.I. ARCHBISHOP OF COTABATO, PHILIPPINES FABC-OCL SYMPOSIUM – HUA HIN, THAILAND JUNE 24 -26, 2012 Introduction Objectives: To reflect on the survey results from the viewpoint of Church teachings To have a clearer understanding of “sentire cum Ecclesia;” To apply the principle to relationships at the diocesan level; Particularly to new ministries, vocation promotion, and fidelity to religious vows; In the concrete context of one Asian diocese, Cotabato. A. Some Highlights from the Country Reports on Thinking with the Church negative experiences - lack of collaboration clericalism, authoritarianism, undemocratic leadership lack of insertion into diocesan plans lack awareness of religious charisms positive experiences of collaboration clear diocesan vision-mission; program of insertion and integration a person and community-oriented leadership structures of collaboration B. The meaning of “sentire cum Ecclesia.” the 16th historical context of St. Ignatius of Loyola: corruption and decadence ad intra ecclesiam, the spirit of the world in the Church dissent, disharmony, disrespect and ridicule of church authority, defiance, heresies, anti-Church movements; the need for a new attitude of obedience to the magisterium. forming a “new Obedience” - the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius 18 Rules for “Thinking with the Church” the Church is “the true spouse of Jesus Christ, our holy mother…whose authority is exercised over us by the hierarchy.” obey with mind and heart – Be of “the same mind and conformity with the Church itself,” for the Spirit of the Lord and the Spirit of the Church is one and the same. the contemporary situation: a post-modern spirit - many positive contributions to Asia negative impact on Asia’s deep sense of the religious and sacred, esteem for religious persons and institutions the world’s perception of the Church: outdated, authoritarian, undemocratic, oppressive a very flawed human Church (clergy, religious, laity) dissent, disrespect and ridicule of the Church and its teaching authority, defiance, hostility, division and disharmony At its radical level the spirit of the age -- an anti-Church attitude: “Leave your Church, follow Christ.” some notes: the weakening of Jesuit sentire cum ecclesia Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. – 2011, Singapore – “Our only safety is sentire cum ecclesia.” Salesians – one of 4 pillars of Salesian life – sentire cum ecclesia (Abp. Angelo Amato, SDB, Sec. CDF, 2005) “Vivere in Ecclesia, sentire cum Ecclesia, et agere pro Ecclesia” – captures Don Bosco’s spirituality Card. Rode at XXXV General Congregation of S.J., 2008 – Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church: motto – Sentire cum Ecclesia (Ubi Petrus. Ibi Ecclesia) Sentire cum Ecclesia calls us to look into ourselves, ask what our own attitude towards the Church and its authority would be. The way “Christ love his Church”? C. Sentire cum Ecclesia at the level of the Diocese. Relationships: Respect? Like? Love? Towards those in authority - fear, cynicism, indifference? Towards one another – Distance? Indifference? Anonymity? Isolation? Toleration? Like? Fellowship? Collaboration? Examining the present status of such relationships in your own diocese. (How about in your own congregation?) D. “Case Study” of Sentire cum Ecclesia – Archdiocese of Cotabato Pastoral situation Population and geography Religious history (from missionary to diocesan) Diocesan and Religious personnel Pastoral thrust and pastoral programs. Community building among personnel diocesan and congregational assemblies Sisters’ assemblies (AWRAC – Association of Women Religious of the Archdiocese of Cotabato) Presbyteral assemblies Diocesan and Religious assemblies (on-going formation, socialization), Bishop’s pastoral and informal visits. Structures of collaboration: The Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly every four years; Discerning, Envisioning, and Planning; Integration of religious congregations, their ministries into the vision-mission of the Archdiocese = Charisms at the service of the Local Church. Orientation to the Pastoral thrust of BEC building; Involvement in archdiocesan boards and pastoral programs; in parish pastoral councils and programs. Vocation Month (September): joint activities (use of radio, talks in schools and parishes, vocation exhibits) mutual promotion of vocations New Ministries collaboration in discerning, envisioning, planning and implementing new engagements: indigenous peoples inter-religious dialogue building a culture of peace care for the integrity of creation – logging, mining Charism of Religious Congregations for Ongoing Spiritual Formation Clergy, Laity (catechists, religious educators, lay leaders), Religious Retreat Houses, schools and other institutions E. Towards a Deeper Understanding of Sentire cum Ecclesia Fundamental Doctrinal Basis of Thinking with the Church Lumen Gentium, 1964. Chapter 3 – the Church is hierarchical – Bishops are successors of the Apostles. They take the place of Christ himself as teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act as his representatives. The faithful are obliged to submit to their bishop’s decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind. Chapter VI – Religious. The state of life constituted by the profession of the evangelical counsels belongs undeniably to her life and holiness. It is for the hierarchy to make wise laws for the regulation of the practice of the counsels. Christus Dominus, 1965. Chapter II – the Bishop in his own diocese. As father and pastor, the Bishop should be with his people as one who serves, as a good shepherd who know his sheep and whose sheep know him, as a true father who excels in love and solicitude for all, he should ensure that the faithful are duly involved in Church affairs; he should recognize their right and duty to play their part in building up the Mystical Body of Christ. Close collaboration and the coordination of all the apostolic works under the direction of the bishop Religious in a true sense belong to the diocesan family. They should at all times treat the bishops, as the successors of the apostles, with loyal respect and reverence. Organized cooperation between the various religious institutes and between them and the diocesan clergy. The closest possible coordination of all apostolic works and activities. This will depend mainly on the supernatural attitude of heart and mind grounded on charity. Vita Consecrata (1995), no. 46, “Sentire cum Ecclesia”: consecrated persons are asked to be true experts of communion and to practice the spirituality of communion. In founders and foundresses we see a constant and lively sense of the Church, which they manifest by their full participation in all aspects of the Church’s life, and in their ready obedience to the Bishops and especially to the Roman Pontiff. Pastores Gregis (2003), no. 44: to a pastoral style which is ever more open to collaboration with all. a lived ecclesial communion will lead the bishop the Bishop’s being for will surely lead him to being with the people his responsibility – to bring about unity in diversity of different charisms, ministries, and services – a collaborative effort. Participation of the faithful – their share in the responsibility for ecclesial communion Cooperation of consecrated men and women with the Bishop so as to enrich ecclesial community by their presence and ministry. Reflection on the Doctrinal Basis Principles at the root of collaboration: Co-responsibility and Participation – through: Principle of Subsidiarity? Principle of Communion? to think with the Church ----- feel with the Church ---- love the Church solidarity as a virtue, cf. Pope John Paul II, Solicitudo Rei Socialis. To think with the Church, to feel with the Church, to love the Church and its authority, even as we recognize the unlovable human imperfections and sins of the institution. To be on the side of the Church, never to undermine her or betray her. We may admonish her, reproach her and suggest a better way, but always within the bonds of love. This is the realism of Christ’s love for her Spouse, the Saints’ love for the Church. Communion as the nature of the Church, Church-in- Mission Among the members of the Church With the Triune God Biblical images of communion The Vine and the branches The Body of Christ The early Jerusalem community of Christians Communion: Co-responsibility, Participation, Collaboration, Coordination Bring the above concepts to the level of the diocese – the “household” of God. Final Note: Sentire cum ecclesia – not a one way affair; The Bishop must also “sentire cum ecclesia,” the People of God of which he is a member. The Bishop represents the hierarchical dimension of the Church. Religious reflect the charismatic character of the Church. The Bishop as a leader is Servant. He has to mirror the servant leadership of Jesus. He also has to image Jesus, the Good Shepherd Therefore, the Bishop must feel with the flock and love the flock entrusted to his care by the Lord. The mission of the Church from Jesus is: a mission of Communion involving the whole Church a mission towards Communion with God all humanity all Creation A Spirituality of Communion is imperative. If Sentire cum Ecclesia fundamentally means To Love the Church, then this means Communion. Communion is at the heart of Love. It expresses Love at its deepest level. Sentire cum Ecclesia is to love the Church, to be in Communion with the Church.