Where are all the ‘Emerging’ Catholics?

We just had a lovely weekend catching up with our friend Maggy Cooper.

Maggy is originally from Australia, coming over to the UK to become a Nun, before moving into secular work with adults with learning disabilities. She currently works as a community leader of a L’Arche community.

Although she remains Catholic, Maggy began to attend the church we attended in England, Calvary Christian Fellowship in order to learn and share with others from a different Christian tradition. She has been a bridge into a new world for many of us over the last 10 years or so…

So through Maggy I heard about people like Jean Vanier and Henri Nouwen. And she opened up for me a whole new stream of contemplative understanding of the life of faith. Maggy has years of experience as a prayer guide, and in leading retreats- now most commonly at St Beuno’s in North Wales.

Talking to Maggy is always a blessing.

But perhaps the common language that she and I have most in common is that found in and around the ’emerging church conversation’. She reads more books than I do on the subject (some of my friends will find this difficult to beleive!) and  the excitment offered for the future by the ideas and thoughts coming out of the EC debate seems to fit naturally with her Catholic faith.

Indeed, it has been very noticable how much of the ’emerging’ movement has embraced older contemplative practices- in many ways this could be describing a healing of rifts formed by the Reformation- a bringing together of different Christian traditions.

Which kind of makes me ask again- where are all the other Emerging Catholics? I have met a few. Some of them are returnees to the church that they had previously rejected- like Vince down in Ayr. For him, the EC has made it possible to speak about things that previously had no words, or at very least were unmentionable.

This is particularly important here in Scotland, where sectarian division runs deep and toxic.

In this pluralistic world, movements still require leadership– and given the rather conservative stance the Pope takes on most matters Spiritual perhaps this is difficult thing to do within the Catholic Church.

One voice that will be increasingly familiar will be that of Fransiscan Preist Richard Rohr, and his Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico USA. He even gets a mention in ChristianityToday.

Here are a couple of clips of him speaking…

I am not interested in seeing us all the converge on a common form of faith. How boring and lifeless that would be! I am fascinated to see these common streams emerging in the different traditions however.

And at the heart of this has to be a kind of generosity to one another’s view points.

I would love to hear about Catholic movements that I have missed…

6 thoughts on “Where are all the ‘Emerging’ Catholics?

    • Hey John

      The Cathlimergent site looks really interesting- looking forward to having a good browse…

      I am not Catholic, but I am increasingly drawn to some aspects of Catholic tradition. Happy to discuss these further!



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