onsdag 25 mars 2009

Open letter to the Pope - about Church renewal

The Feast of the Annunciation,
March 25'th, 2009

Dear Brother in Christ, Pope Benedict XVI,

I'm led to write to you again, although I haven't gotten any response yet to my first letter, which I hope you've read as it was most of all meant for you personally. It can be found here if you haven't seen it:


I've followed the recent media turmoil, and would like to comfort you somehow, as I see both your pain and your good intentions. I'll keep you in loving prayers. But still I have to say what I'm inspired to say...

I'm now with you at a distance on your trip to Africa. I hear you speak about the situation of women, mainly in the society, as you've done quite a few times lately. I would also like to talk about women - but turn the focus to women within the Church - and to the need for renewal here. If we are to be listened to by the world - we need to change from within at first. The Church, in regard to women, should be the prophetic and hope-filled sign that the world is yet waiting to see.

The Church body is sadly split at the moment, and I got the image of it as consisting of twin children. One is a conservative boy, looking mainly backwards, and the other is a progressive girl, seeing the future come.

The Church needs both these vast perspectives: history and future, and the radical point where these must meet to keep the balance, is the present moment.

I'm now standing at that sharp point, seeing the Church tip over heavily in one direction.

As it is, only the boy twin is cared for by the Church Mother; it's given love, attention, food and even sweets. While the girl twin is thrown out of the house, left to starve, left alone. Well, not all alone, as God is also with her...

How can the Church ever be healed if this continues?

Both of the twins need to be loved and listened to. What is given to the boy should also be given to the girl.

Like you just said yourself in Africa (very well expressed!):

"I call everyone to an effective awareness of the adverse conditions to which many women have been -- and continue to be -- subjected, paying particular attention to ways in which the behavior and attitudes of men, who at times show a lack of sensitivity and responsibility, may be to blame. This forms no part of God's plan."

May I use another image: the Church is running out of wine at present. And only women can bring its flow back. We keep pointing at what's missing - and we still wait for the answer from the all male hierarchy: the full recognition of our complementary calls from God.

Women and men are called to serve together, not only in the society, but also in the very heart of our Church.

Isn't it quite clear by now that the Church can't be genuinely represented only by "fathers"? Isn't it clear that women are desperately needed in every Church position, to heal what we've lost through a very sad history, so unlike the blossoming beginnings of Christianity, in order to move towards the future?

There's something new in the air these days... As you may have noticed.

And I can imagine that the present situation may feel unfamiliar and even threatening to you. But it's the signs of a new spring time for the Church. You'll only have to let it happen... May I dare to say: it's time to surrender!

The long era is finally over, when the hierarchy could rule over the Church, even through violent means, without being criticized. In our days, media is focused on the Church like never before, and the internet has opened up new ways. Lay Catholics across the world have found wonderful possibilities to connect and share. And we'd like to share our thoughts with you.

What you, or perhaps mainly some of those around you, seem to wish for and ask for: obedience and conformity to certain thinking patterns, is actually what causes most of the problems in the Church. It shapes a kind of blind loyalty that keeps people at a spiritual baby level. But that's not inspired by God...

It's supposed to be like this among us:

"Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave". (Matthew 20:21-25)

Why is there then such a power abuse even among Church leaders of today? The lay people know, some of us by tough personal experiences, that the hierarchy isn't infallible. But don't worry. It's by recognizing that they're fallible, vulnerable - and thus lovable - that the Church leaders will be able to humbly serve and gain our trust again.

Yes - to serve is all about trust, not demanding obedience. And trust needs to be earned.

I'll trust a Church which fully receives also the women that God calls to serve.

I'll trust a Church where everyone is welcome, and no one is shut out from God's table.

I'll trust a Church that doesn't excommunicate - but communicates with its critics, as change has to come from within.

Only those who listen to God more than to human beings can bring about change in the Church. Only those will be free enough. And that freedom isn't a threat to the institution - it's what will bring new life to dead bones. Again - you only need to let it happen... God will take care of it and guide the Church through what each person, women and men alike, is inspired to by the Holy Spirit - in prayer and discernment.

What we need to see, and are all to be, is a Church on her knees. Carefully listening to God. And among many other things, I think God wants to deliver this message today:

"I wish to blow spring air over the Church, but you close the windows, and lock the doors. Where may I enter? I'll blow fresh air through all the tiny slots where I am received. You'll be surprised as it's exactly those that you've tried to tighten. But I kept them open. And the stones that don't let the light through will be moved."

Our Church is as if covered with ice today, and it needs many warm spring sunbeams to start melting.

Let's be those sunbeams!

Love in Christ,
Charlotte Thérèse

P.S. I wrote this letter a few days before this Feast day - but wanted to send it today, wrapped in prayers.

A few hours after writing it, I read about your meeting with the youth in Angola. God's powerful presence there was felt all the way to Sweden...!

These words of yours made me rejoice: "God changes us; he makes us new! This is what he has promised: ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ It is true!"

Amen!! May the Holy Spirit keep renewing us all, and our beloved Church, from within!

6 kommentarer:

Anonym 9 maj 2009 17:26  

I cannot help wondering how it is, dear Charlotte Therese, that you cannot see further than women's ordination? How is it that you cannot open your eyes and heart to understand how many other ways a woman can serve the Church, the body of Christ?

If Jesus would have wanted women priests He Himself would have ordained women to be His disciples. He did not.

That doesn't mean women are oppressed. Mary Magdalen was a very important person for Our Lord and remember she was also the first person to see Him after He was resurrected. So you see, women have other roles in His Church, no less important.

I myself am a woman and highly educated in theology, but I have no difficulties in understanding the reason for male priesthood only. I do other works for church instead, highly appreciated among men as well as women, priests as well as laymen.

Your ambition seems merely personal, a struggle not to be equal but to be the same. And there is a huge difference. At one point you will have to take a look in you heart and try to find out whose works you are really interested in doing here: Christ's or perhaps your own...

Dear sister in Christ, I will pray that you find it in your heart to settle for the Church teachings as they were, are and will be, and that you decide to to God's work on earth - not your own. What you call a renewal is nothing but an attempt to water down the church and transform it into something more suitable for your own purposes. And that is not what we are called to do.

In Christ

Charlotte Therese 11 maj 2009 19:27  

Dear Jeanette,

I of course see all the other ministries that women are allowed to do.

But how is that relevant in a situation when a woman isn't called to any of these other things but when she is called to be ordained and serve the Church in a complementary way, next to the men that are the only ones who are allowed to serve as priests at the moment?

Jesus ordained no one. That's a historical fact. It's the Church which much later started ordaining and excluding where Jesus was clearly inclusive. He called both women and men to follow God in every possible service.

That started to change when Roman secular influences and prejudices against women sadly took over in the Church.

I have no purposes, no agenda - I only have to do what I'm called to do - and that seems to be to speak about this, to lift the subject when inspired, so this may be changed back one day to how Jesus meant things to be.

I will pray that your eyes are opened so you will also see as far as I in fact do see...


Anonym 16 maj 2009 19:33  

It is a biblical fact that Jesus ordained Peter. If you deny this you deny everything that the Church is about. "On this rock I will build my church, sayeth the Lord."

He did not say that to Mary Magdalen or any other woman.

The thing is, dear Charlotte Therese, this has nothing to do with opening one's eyes. Only how you interpret the bible and tradition. We apparently interpret it differently but that certainly doesn't mean that you are in any way more enlightened than me. Only when you realise this you will be able to discuss this on a serious level with people. Being self righteous will only harm your arguments, I'm afraid.

In Christo

Charlotte Therese 16 maj 2009 22:41  


Then please give me the bible verses that shows the ritual of the "ordination" of any of the apostles. They don't exist in the bibles I have access to, and it's quite a few - including one in original Greek.

What you talk about is a later anachronistic construction.

If I didn't believe that I had discovered something important - I wouldn't need to write about it - and there would be nothing to discuss.

There's nothing self righteous in that. It's an open matter about which there can be different opinions. But to deny that in advance and say that the Church is always right in everything no matter what - that would be rather arrogant - even to quench the Spirit which moves as God wishes - both in powerful and tiny members of the body of Christ. (I count myself among the latter.)

freebird 3 september 2009 00:56  

Keep up the good work. You write very nice letters that don't come across harsh as mine would. You have a right to be heard. Jesus asked for questions from his followers. Did he ever in the bible we have pick a woman? Yes! In the story of Mary and Martha. When Mary wanted to be with him rather than serve in typical women's fashion he said to Martha to stop insisting on the old ways for women and to let Mary come join the male disciples. That is just what he said! So he did not want traditional women's roles to come between him and any woman. His way was a new way. It broke all the traditions. Today the Church is trying to hang on to traditions and how women "should be" but Jesus himself would have none of that. Thankyou so much again, for writing your letters. You speak for me as I don't do it well. Keep speaking and don't back down. It is one of your gifts.

Okay, I can't resist my curiosity - what kind of art do you make? Art is co-creating with God I think. I don't do too well there either but I try.

Charlotte Therese 3 september 2009 11:02  


Your comments made my day... :-)

Thanks especially for this one - never thought of the story of Mary and Martha in this way before.

Will publish part of your comments in a new posting today!

Yes, art is co-creating with God indeed...

(I gave you links to my art in your blog.)


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