(Vatican Radio) Church reform, past and present was the subject of a five day seminar that concluded on Friday at the Rome headquarters of the Jesuit magazine ‘La Civiltà Cattolica’. The 30 participants, men and women from 13 countries met from September28th to October 2nd to share historical research and theological insights, inspired by Pope Francis’ call in his most recent encyclical ‘Laudato Si’’ to encourage “a process of missionary reform”.
Topics included in the “rich and complex” discussions included the renewal of the Church at Vatican II, the relationship of the Universal and particular Churches and the search for Christian unity, as well as reflections on the current process of reform of the Roman Curia initiated by Pope Francis over the past two years.
Among those taking part in the seminar was theology professor Massimo Faggioli, an Italian born Church historian and director of the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship at the University of St. Thomas in the U.S. city of St. Paul, Minnesota.
He talked to Philippa Hitchen about what went on at the closed door meeting…
Below please find the press release issued at the end of the symposium at ‘La Civilta Cattolica’
October 2, 2015
From September 28 to October 2 a seminar on reform in the Catholic Church took place in Rome at the headquarters of the Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica. The participants were thirty men and women – ecclesiologists, historians, ecumenists, canon lawyers, and experts in pastoral studies – from thirteen countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Philippines, Spain, and the United States).
The theme of the seminar – which met in the year marking the 50th anniversary of the closing of Vatican II – was “The reform and reforms in the Church.” The seminar developed the issue of Ecclesia semper reformanda considering the renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council in its vital and structural aspects and the doctrine of the Church. Every day of the seminar there were presentations, panels, and three periods of dialogue among the participants that allowed real and open exchange.
The purpose of the meeting was to offer humble and candid contributions and inspirations to the processes that the Church is going through at this time under the guidance of Pope Francis. In his Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Francis wrote “to all the members of the Church with the aim of encouraging a process of missionary reform” (Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, par. 3).
The seminar, an unofficial initiative of men and women theologians both lay and ordained, was organized by the Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica and directed by Fr. Carlos Maria Galli (a member of the International Theological Commission) and Fr. Antonio Spadaro SJ (editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica).
The topics were rich and complex. After introductory speeches on the vision of reform of the Church under Pope Francis in light of his experience as a Jesuit and as a son of the Latin American Church, the seminar covered the following topics: 1) The renewal of the Church in the Second Vatican Council; 2) The lessons of history about the reform of the Church; 3) The synodal communion as the key of life and renewal of the people of God; 4) The reforms of the universal Church and of the particular Churches; 5) Christian unity and the reform of the Church; and 6) Reflections for a poor, fraternal, and inculturated Church. The seminar included a reflection on the sources of permanent renewal of the Church and with some indications on how to deepen and institutionalize the reforms of the Church. The seminar also collected criteria for action and concrete proposals for reform. All the reports and conclusions of the seminar will be published in a book and shared with the wider public at a later date.
Participants: Antonio Spadaro SI (Italy), Carlos Maria Galli (Argentina), Hermann Pottmeyer (Germany), John O’Malley SI (USA), Andrea Riccardi (Italy), Giancarlo Pani SI (Italy), Angelo Maffeis (Italy), Hervé Legrand OP (France), Dario Vitali (Italy), Alphonse Borras (Belgium), Gilles Routhier (Canada), Silvia Scatena (Italy), Severino Dianich (Italy), Salvador Pié-Ninot (Spain), Miriam Wijlens (The Netherlands), Massimo Faggioli (USA and Italy), Carlos Schickendantz (Chile), William Henn OFM Cap. (USA), Piero Coda (Italy), Joseph Famerée SCI (Belgium), Peter De Mey (Belgium), Jorge Scampini OP (Argentina), Juan Carlos Scannone SI (Argentina), Diego Fares S.I. (Argentina), Serena Noceti (Italy), Mario de França Miranda SI (Brazil), Léonard Santedi Kinkupu (Democratic Republic of Congo), José Mario C. Francisco SI (The Philippines), Mary Melone (Italy), mons. Victor Manuel Fernández (Argentina).