I am pleased and highly honored to have been invited to participate on a new collaborative blog entitled THE OPEN TABERNACLE, HERE COMES EVERYBODY.  The blog is live as of New Year’s Day, and I’m sure there will a bit of sorting out at the beginning.  The blog will reflect a progressive catholic (note the small “c”) point of view, and the original coterie of bloggers hopes to expand.

For now, here’s a taste of the first contributions that serve as an introduction to the blog:

Colleen Kochivar-Baker is a US based counseling psychologist.  She explains the OPEN TABERNACLE name:

When I was a little girl I was always pretty confused when the priest would lock the ciborium in the tabernacle after communion. It seemed to me like Jesus was being locked in His kennel. It was a pretty kennel, but I didn’t  grasp why Jesus had to be locked away. I couldn’t quite believe Jesus would run away the way my dog had run away. But having had the experience of losing my dog that way, it was nice to know that Jesus couldn’t go the route of my first dog.

Then I grew up, but to my horror, I realized that symbol of locking Jesus away in a tabernacle was still really important for some people, and for very specific theological reasons. On the practical level this locking up the ciborium would seem to be about theft, but I began to realize it was also about theft on the theological level. Leave the metaphorical theological tabernacle open, and horror of horrors, anyone could come in and take Jesus. Which is after all, what He Himself said. Take this all of you…..

The locked Tabernacle for me became a very potent symbol about access to the Catholic Jesus. There would be a lot of hoops to jump through before that door would be unlocked and there would be insurmountable intrinsic barriers which meant I would never be allowed access to the keys. It didn’t matter how much I loved Jesus or how I advanced spiritually, the closed tabernacle was a fact of Catholic life I would  have to accept.

And then I grew up some more and realized the locked tabernacle has nothing to do with Jesus and everything to do with the clerical key keepers. Once I realized that, I knew if there was a tabernacle, it was always open and always meant to be that way. The only keys were faith and love, and those can’t be put in a pocket. Those have to be lived.

Terence Weldon, presently of the UK but formerly of South Africa, has been the primary impetus behind the creation of this collaborative effort, and he explains the second part of the name, HERE COMES EVERYBODY:

This phrase, which is now being used quite widely in a range  of contexts, is best known for its use by James Joyce in his extraordinary novel, finnegans wake. Read literally, it has obvious relevance for a progressive catholic blog such as this one, which sees inclusion at the heart of the Gospels, and interprets “catholic” as meaning universal.

William D. Lindsey, a theologian from Little Rock, offers his perception of what the blog is all about:

Progressive Catholicism: you’re kidding, right?  Catholics have made clear what they stand for, and it would be a big stretch to call their stands progressive in just about any area you can name.

Opposition to women’s ordination (and women’s rights); opposition to same-sex marriage (and gay rights); support for the Republican party in the U.S. and right-leaning political movements all across the globe; opposition to liberation theology and its preaching of a preferential option for the poor: the Catholic church has made clear where it stands.

And the place where the church stands is definitely not progressive.

So why do we, a group of catholic-minded bloggers announce with confidence that we think it’s worthwhile to explore the progressive side of Catholicism/catholicism, at this period of such strong, entrenched reaction (at the very center of the Catholic church) to progressive movements around the world?  Read more …

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