It’s a ‘Copernican Revolution’!
BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, OFFICE OF EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
The Copernican Revolution (named for scientist Nicolaus Copernicus), which was the shift in the field of astronomy from a geocentric understanding of the universe, (centered around the Earth), to a heliocentric understanding, (centered around the sun) caused quite a scandal. We are in another time of great change, but the Holy Spirit is moving the Church forward and renewing our vision.
Do you hear God calling you to understand your strengths and invest them in your local parish?
I recently took the StrengthsFinder assessment and the report stated that “You are 1 in 33 million.” That is the odds that someone has the same Top 5 strengths as me in the exact same order. We are each unique and beautiful creations of our loving God. We each have some unique strength to offer the mission of Jesus and his Church and “it takes all of us!”
Prior to Vatican II, one could say the Church looked like a professional football game. There were 22 battle-weary men on the field in desperate need of a little rest, while 80,000 fans cheered them on, in desperate need of a little exercise. The ordained and vowed religious served the Church and the rest of us sat on the sidelines. How did we get there and what is the Holy Spirit doing to move us forward in time?
In 1906, Pope Pius X stated, “It follows that the Church is an unequal society, comprised of two categories of persons, the Pastors and the flock… those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of authority of the hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful… The one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and like a docile flock to follow the pastors” (1906 encyclical “Vehementer Nos”). Just over 100 years later, Pope Francis speaks to the “Copernican Revolution” that is essential.
“A clear awareness of this responsibility of the laity, grounded in their baptism and confirmation, does not appear in the same way in all places. In some cases, lay persons have not been formed… In others, it is because in their particular Churches room has not been made for them to speak and to act, due to an excessive clericalism which keeps them away from decision making” (“Evangelii Gaudium,” 102-103). He goes on to express the “indispensible contribution” of the laity, especially women, and says, “the feminine genius is needed…”
The Holy Spirit is at work! Thank God for the sacrifices of our priests and religious; we all need to contribute the strengths of our personalities to ensure they are not overworked and underappreciated. In addition, when we bring the gifts of our whole community to focus on the mission of Jesus and his Church… look out! We have the power and blessing of God’s Spirit, and collectively all the gifts we need to live as missionary disciples making present the Kingdom of God!
Peace in Christ,
Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know?
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a Catholic scientist as well as a canon, which is a Church administrative role that in those days required ordination to minor orders. He was part of an ongoing tradition of Catholic astronomers. To learn more about Copernicus and the heliocentric system, visit the Vatican Observatory’s resource page at https://www.vaticanobservatory.org/sacred-space-astronomy/religious-scientists-canon-nicolaus-copernicus-1473-1543-heliocentricism/.
Originally printed in the November 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.