Then we responded to the question: what has recently been striking you about the Church?
- need to pray about the choice of Archbishop. Discussion about how prayer cards were given out to the laity, but no information about why the announcement is delayed..... so we feel treated as children... no change there, then...
- The process of choosing (arch)bishops is unsatisfactory because of no lay involvement
- when priests leave/are installed in parishes, the process should be done better - special service with Bishop? Can learn from e.g. Church of Scotland's installation prayers of commitment from minister and from congregation. (They also have a say in who is appointed.)
- priests are silenced and bishops dismissed from posts as a result of complaints to Vatican, with no process that is either fair or open, no explanation. Examples from Australia and USA were mentioned. A parish who's priest was removed - become Mary's in Exile (Brisbane)
- Observation that formation of priests and laity should be continuing - but too often priests formation stalls and lay formation is patchy at best.
- Some (but NOT all!) priests view parishes as their personal kingdoms
- example of priesthood from Greece - lay people appointed for 3 year terms....
- How some perceive "the problem" with the Church being the need for the Mass to be done right.... magical notions..... that we "receive the liturgy". We'd have more sympathy with the need for formation, faith-sharing groups, engagement with the needy and needs of the world, needing a theology and Church practice that recognised the Spirit in the laity, and had ideas of God that were not inadequately small (but could coexist energetically with science...)
- who did make the Latin text, the translation of which we so criticise? Does that have the characteristics we criticise in the English text? (See http://englishmasstext.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/is-it-latin-text-its-translation-or-its.html for interest!)
- should we prepare a letter to the new Archbishop? (Afterthought - why do that on day 1. Let him or her settle in.)
The Vigil Group seeks to understand the causes of our reactions to events that cause us disquiet or excitement, name the underling issues, and then to ask: "how can I respond to this, take responsibility, express in my life/groups that which is inadequately expressed by institutional Church?"
- maybe the reason why some - especially some in authoritative positions in the Church - cling to rigidly defensive positions when the status quo is questioned, is that their hope for salvation is located in the Church rather than Christ himself. 'There is no salvation outside of the Church' lingers in those who have not experienced encounter with Christ as Saviour. It happens in other churches too, of course, but it is a very powerful factor against change. What is the answer? Of course, working for personal renewal, which we all need anyway - ensure we seek salvation in Christ, not in belonging to a Church of our own imagining.
- need to do what Micah said: walk humbly with your God - because what I imagine God to be will not be big enough! The danger really comes when our God is too small, and we defend positions based on that image of God.
- we can seek and encourage opportunities for study, prayer, fear-free sharing, discussion in small groups.
- we can commit to this for ourselves, and so we closed by praying Ephesians 3