Come Holy Spirit: You are harmony; make us builders of unity. You always give yourself; grant us the courage to go out of ourselves, to love and help each other in order to become one family.
The Call for a Taskforce to Study the Ministerial Covenant
In response to the needs of the local church and inspired by pastoral solicitude for the faithful, Archbishop Etienne called for the creation of a task force to deepen the understanding, articulation, and implementation of church teaching as it is currently detailed in the Ministerial Covenant. The following identifies the goals and work products for each of the three phases that began in the fall of 2020, and will conclude in the summer of 2021.
The taskforce received three charges from Archbishop Etienne to guide, focus, and limit its deliberations.
Review, study, discuss, and articulate the official teaching and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church as it relates to natural law, the moral life, conscience formation, free will, sin, and human social and sexual development. This formation and education of the taskforce will include official church documents such as papal encyclicals, apostolic constitutions and exhortations, conciliar documents, pastoral and doctrinal statements from bishop, and The Code of Canon Law.
Assess, analyze, and summarize the understanding, convictions, beliefs, and opinions of a variety of archdiocesan stakeholders regarding the Ministerial Covenant and its use in employment decisions. Stakeholders to be surveyed include parents of students currently in Catholic schools; Catholic school principals, teachers, and staff; priests.
Recommend to the archbishop an informed and thoughtful approach to renewing the Ministerial Covenant that values and respects both of the above goals, namely one that embraces and affirms the fullness of church teaching while honoring and appreciating the sensus fidelium.
Each of the goals of the task force delineated above have proper, formal work products, the presentation of which signals the conclusion of that particular goal.
The education and formation of the task force results in a summary statement of church teaching, detailing the task force’s understanding of the official teaching and tradition of the church. This series of statements forms a foundation for proceeding and can be used in a variety of other contexts, such as catechesis, spiritual formation, publication, and personal growth and reflection.
The discernment of the task force as it hears from the local church leads to robust discussion, questioning and member checking. Results from surveys are summarized and used to craft a set of guiding principles for policy, considering both the summary statements of church teaching as well as the sensus fidelium.
The decision-making of the task force addresses revised drafts of the Ministerial Covenant, making concrete recommendations to the archbishop about language, policy, employment, and catechesis, detailing an approach to the formation of the faith at every level.