Fr. Michael Sweeney, OPLay Mission Project
The malfeasance of bishops and priests has led to a call for reform of the institution of the Church. There is a peril in this: the Church is animated and governed by the Holy Spirit and an overemphasis upon the institutional structure of the Church runs the risk of stifling the Spirit. As a path for reform, Pope Francis is building on Paul VI and John Paul II and has emphasized synodality—a mode of consultative governance which emphasizes the communion of all of the members of the Church. In their polities, religious orders have institutionalized and structured themselves around particular gifts of the Holy Spirit. The model of governance in the Dominican Order—with a balance of authority, faithfulness to a charism, and the particular life of local communities—offers insights into how synodality might answer the call for reform.
Fr. Sweeney also led a master class on Saturday, February 29th on Yves Congar's True and False Reform in the Church.
Fr. Michael Sweeney, OP, founded and directs the Lay Mission Project of the Western Dominican Province. Previously he served as President of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (DSPT) in Berkeley, California. With Sherry Weddell, he founded the St. Catherine of Siena Institute, which equips parishes to form lay apostles. A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, he was ordained in 1979 and has served as a university chaplain and as a pastor in a parish setting. Fr. Michael gives lectures and workshops around the country on lay formation and the mission of the Church.