The Greek word Parrhesia means “plain speaking” an activity with an honourable history in the Catholic church.Inspired by the Spirit and freedom in Jesus, hordes of people were unafraid to call a spade a spade, engage in serious dialogue and fraternally challenge other Followers of Jesus. I do not use the word “Christian” to describe the most famous act of parrhesia—the early church was Jewish, they were simply “Followers of the Way”. Outside of Jesus challenging the Jewish establishment of his time—Paul’s act of parrhesia stands out when he challenged Peter at the Council of Jerusalem in 43 CE. That’s how authentic tradition moves forward.We’ve had our great share of small and large prophets who challenged their betters…Hildegarde, Eckhart, Clare, Francis, Dominic, Merton, Berrigans, Kung,Romero and latterly women like Theresa Kane challenging JP ll who literally turned his back on her when she spoke out fearlessly about women in the church.
As Yes men have been increasingly placed in diocese after diocese, many more are finding their voice, claiming their baptism and offering opposing opinions. They are speaking out about the monochromatic leadership being foisted on the People of God. Meet Fr. Doug Koesel of Blessed Trinity parish in Cleveland who wrote in his bulletin last week the following:
Many of you have asked me to comment on the recent investigation into
the US nuns. Here goes.
In short, the Vatican has asked for aninvestigation into the life of religious women in the United States.
There is a concern about orthodoxy, feminism and pastoral practice.The problem with the Vatican approach is that it places the nunssquarely on the side of Jesus and the Vatican on the side of tired old men, making a last gasp to save a crumbling kingdom lost long ago for a variety of reasons.
One might say that this investigation is the direct result of the John Paul II papacy. He was suspicious of the power given to the laity
after the Second Vatican Council. He disliked the American CatholicChurch. Throughout his papacy he strove to wrest collegial power from episcopal conferences and return it to Rome.
One of the results of the council was that the nuns became more educated, more integrated in the life of the people and more
justice-oriented than the bishops and pope. They are doctors, lawyers,university professors, lobbyists, social workers, authors,
theologians, etc. Their appeal was that they always went back to whatJesus said and did. Their value lay in the fact that their theology
and their practice were integrated into the real world.
The Vatican sounded like the Pharisees of the New Testament;—legalistic, paternalistic and orthodox— while “the good sisters” were
the ones who were feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, educating the immigrant, and so on. Nuns also learned that Catholics are intuitively smart about their faith. They prefer dialogue over diatribe, freedom of thought over mind control, biblical study over fundamentalism, development of doctrine over isolated mandates.
Far from being radical feminists or supporters of far-out ideas, religious women realized that the philosophical underpinnings of
Catholic teaching are no longer valid. Women are not subservient to men, the natural law is much broader than once thought,
Let brother Doug know of your support