ND Forum examines Catholic laity's role in responding to sex abuse crisis
By Anna Bradley
University of Notre Dame
March 2, 2020
The 2019-20 Notre Dame Forum series, “‘Rebuild My Church: Crisis and Response,” continues March 4-6 with a look at the relationship between clergy and laity in addressing the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. Called & Co-responsible will be an academic and pastoral conference hosted by the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame.
Drawing upon Pope Benedict’s 2012 speech, the conference will address questions about the nature of leadership in the Church, and how lay people are not to be merely collaborators with the clergy, but are rather truly co-responsible for the Church’s being and activity.
“Pope Francis says that all of us are asked to obey the Lord’s call to go forth, and that this will involve leaving the comfort zones we have all established for ourselves and for the Church,” said John Cavadini, professor of theology and McGrath-Cavadini director of the McGrath Institute. “How do we form the laity to become co-responsible for the Church’s mission? How do we form priests to nurture co-responsibility, in themselves and in the laity?”
Featured speakers include Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Kerry Robinson of Leadership Roundtable, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, alongside other bishops, priests and lay Catholic leaders. The conference will feature invited panelists representing ecclesial movements, parishes, dioceses and Catholic schools.
“Our conference hopes to make visible this new conception of leadership, introduced by Pope Benedict XVI and developed by Pope Francis, and at the same time to make the theology that empowers it visible as well. We hope this is the beginning, not the end, of this exciting exploration of a genuinely new conception of leadership in the Church,” Cavadini said.