April 4th Speaker - Ched Myers
This presentation will explore Luke’s version of the Palm Sunday march, the most elaborate account in our gospels. We’ll look at the procession as public theater, a carefully choreographed contrast to imperial Roman triumphal military processions. How has this inspired efforts to reanimate a ‘Church of the Streets’? We’ll also look at Luke’s unique portrait of Jesus as a “weeping prophet” in the wilderness tradition. What does this mean for our journey of Holy Week and also our own national history? How do we continue to lament and organize around the assassination of our greatest US prophet, Martin Luther King Jr, martyred 55 years ago on April 4, 1968?
Ched Myers is an activist theologian who has worked in social change and radical discipleship movements for more than 45 years. His conviction is that the First World church can only be renewed by rediscovering its witness to God’s dream of the Peaceable Kingdom and justice for all. Today, we need to animate a new generation of ecumenical leaders committed to the gospel and to social change.
Save the Dates - Spring 2023 Future Speakers
May 2, Women’s Leadership in the Catholic Church: Oxymoron? Token? Reality? with Carolyn Woo, Phd
June 1, Eucharist & Liturgy with J. Michael Joncas
Check out our last speaker session - March. 2023
How To Stand With Goals Of The Pittsburgh Black Collection
Promoting a Culture of Life
Association of Pittsburgh Priests calls on Catholic leaders to develop new pastoral, spiritual approach regarding abortion and the culture of life -June 13, 2022
For nearly 50 years the Roe v Wade decision of the Supreme Court has locked into place political positions relating to abortion. While our support of the innocent unborn must be clear and decisive, simplistic and polarizing party positions have drowned out attempts to truly understand the complexities and nuances of the issue. We cannot think of just the fetus or just the mother. We need to think of them together. To do so, we need new spiritual guidance on this matter.
Many Catholics, like other Americans, find terms like pro-life or pro-choice to be divisive, inadequate, and misleading. A Vox poll found that while 26% of Americans called themselves "pro-life" and 32% "pro-choice," another 42% said that they were neither, both, or refused to answer the question. Terms are powerful but they can be limiting and dangerous.
No matter what side (or middle) of this complex legal and moral debate one is on, it is the opinion of the APP that our Church, like much of our society, has failed to demonstrate a serious pastoral concern for abortion victims – including the fetuses who might never be born, the women who find themselves in dire situations with nowhere to turn, and the great mass of society that closes its eyes and ears to their cry for help.
According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 18% of pregnancies, excluding miscarriages, ended in abortions, and the Institute expects that by the time these women reach 45, one in four will have had an abortion. Let’s first recognize that these are likely to be the same women who also mother other children, sit in the pews next to us, or who used to sit in the pews next to us – until they no longer felt welcome. They may be our sisters, cousins, aunts, mothers, or grandmothers. They are real people in crisis. And regardless of what judicial rulings may say, they may continue to have abortions, but perhaps less safely.
While the Church teaches that abortion is gravely immoral, she also teaches that God’s mercy and grace are limitless. It does not teach that the women facing this crisis should be abandoned, stigmatized, or criminalized, yet that is often what we have done in the past and what many want to do in the future.
We need to understand that for a woman who finds herself in need of an abortion, the abortion is not the only problem she faces. In some cases, she might face economic crisis, lack of healthcare, violent or abusive partners, immigration problems or job discrimination, or, especially in poverty pockets or in other countries, other hungry children. And others may have abortions for less serious social inconveniences that might be fixed with the proper supporting structure.
No matter the reason, we don’t think the battle over abortion will be won or lost in the courts, the congress, or the state legislatures. We believe that the battle over abortion will be won when the woman facing an abortion can find the community of support that enables her to choose to have the child. We need a culture of life that reduces abortion and enables women to choose birth. We need a culture of life that lives in our faith communities.
STATEMENT OF THE APP
The Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP) calls upon our Church leaders and people in the pews to develop a new and dynamic “Pastoral Culture of Life” in which the people of God learn to better minister to each other, appreciating the complexities we face in relation to the issue of life.
The APP has a long history of supporting the concept of the “seamless garment” or “consistent ethic of life.” Within this context, like Pope Francis, the APP opposes the death penalty, abortion, militarism and unjust wars, hunger due to overconsumption and inequality, and destruction of our life-supporting natural environment. Aligned with Catholic Social Teaching, the APP believes that being “pro-life” incorporates all of these life-giving issues. It also believes a person, being born, has a right to live with dignity and that part of dignity is acknowledging the primacy of a well-formed conscience as a person stands before God. We believe there are better pastoral ways to help people form their consciences than have been employed in the past.
This Pastoral Culture of Life calls upon our Church leaders and people in the pews to develop a new and more dynamic outreach:Listening to women. Creating safe spaces to hear the stories of women - not just related to abortion but also to the circumstances of why women find themselves in such positions. Safe spaces may include synodal discussions and special liturgies. But before vulnerable people will share their stories the people of God will have to earn their trust with preaching and counseling that respects conscience. Until we hear their stories we are dealing only in theory.
Revising diocesan and parish job descriptions that discriminate against single mothers who give birth, and
Reconsidering how the Church hierarchy has been used and manipulated to impede healthcare access among vulnerable populations.
Finally, we call upon our faith leaders to remove any bans on receiving the spiritual nourishment of the Eucharist from persons who had had an abortion or who have aided in an abortion without extensive attempts to understand the circumstances that may have led to it. We call on them to distinguish between the role of bishop and moral leader and that of elected official or even voter. As Pope Francis teaches in the Joy of Love, “moral laws are ideals to be preached, not stones to throw or closed hearts to hide behind…[and] elected officials must make compromise decisions and are frequently forced to choose between greater and lesser evils… [and] mitigating factors surrounding objective situations may not mean moral culpability…. [and we should] seek always the primacy of charity as a response to the completely gratuitous offer of God’s love.” [CF Joy of Love]
APP is committed to doing all that we can to promote Synodality in Western PA. Synodality is a way of journeying forward, led by the Spirit, in our polarized world for our newly merged parishes, for lay groups associated with religious orders, and other groups wanting to live the Gospel more faithfully. Synodality is an on-going process – of listening to each other and for the Spirit, sharing hopes, experiencing supportive community, and being open and responsive to the pain of the world. Synodality is the way to grow as Church.
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