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Information in english:

Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
See, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way,
in the wasteland, rivers.

(Isaiah 43:18-19)

Katolsk Vision (“Catholic Vision”) has a short history – just about two years – but it does have a pre-history.

It all began with a mail triangle. There were three frustrated Catholics in need of someone to talk to. We all knew someone who might be interested to get in on the conversation. The group grew, at first slowly but then at an accelerating pace.

When we had managed to talk ourselves out of the deepest depths of our frustration the question arose whether we should not also do something more constructive, to expand our conversation to include others thinking along the same lines – and also those who did not.

For a long time we discussed various alternatives; finally we lighted on a website with a manifesto, together with the possibility to discuss this and other issues publicly. The idea was to create a forum for free debate on Catholic faith and life where no issues were off limits. With inspiration from We Are Church we put together a manifesto as an invitation to discuss the renewal of the Church. When we had completed the manifesto we set up a sub-group composed of those who chose to sign the manifesto. We had no idea to what this initiative would lead to. It was intended as a call for open dialogue but was received pretty much as if it had been a declaration of war.

The Diocese managed to identify the website already before it had gone public. Already the next Sunday homilies were delivered to warn the parishes off us. And Bishop Anders Arborelius published a letter on the Diocese’s website appealing to us to return to the Church. The effect was like an avalanche. The guestbook at the website was inundated by hateful entries and some of the signatories were subjected to furious sanctions in their respective parishes and groups.

Bishop Anders distanced himself from Catholic Vision by claiming that the manifesto legitimised abortion. But the manifesto did not mention anything about abortion. At the meeting with the Bishop this misconception was put right. But despite our repeated requests for the Bishop to recall the letter or to rewrite it, it remains unchanged on the Diocese’s website. We find his motives for this difficult to grasp.

But it was not all bad. Perhaps a kind of understanding for Catholic Vision is growing in the Diocese as the initial shock that we actually exist subsides. This may be apparent from our blog, where the entries have become less desperate and predictable and a more serious discussion has begun to take shape.

Among the good things we count our discussions with Bishop Anders. The door to the Diocese is not closed. We take note of this with great joy. Also, we are of course glad that the Diocese’s own journal, Katolskt Magasin, treats us in a fair and professional manner. We have not been able always to agree on what should be published, but the dialogue has not been cut short.

However, and this is the fundamental problem: the Hiearchy in Sweden has not said a word in our defence. This notwithstanding, some priests, including pastors of parishes, have privately and on conditions of strict confidentiality said to us that they approve of our initiative and support us. This does not necessarily mean that they support everything in the manifesto. But they support the idea of having an open discussion in the Diocese.

The fact that none of them has dared to speak out publicly goes to show how necessary is Catholic Vision.

We know nothing of the future. We are a network without a board, without bye-laws. The only common element is the manifesto. In all other respect each individual is responsible for his or her own contributions.

For the time being this is how we will proceed – in the joy of having contacts with the word-wide Catholic renewal.

Gert Gelotte