Holy Redeemer Catholic Community, in ongoing efforts to process and transform 2,000 years of Catholic tradition, teaching, experience and theology into a credible presentation of the Gospel in the post-modern world, has prayerfully discerned a need to articulate a succinct exposition of its foundational principles. As the People of God, we embrace the pilgrim nature of our sojourn and the need for constant revision and reformation of these principles as we manifest the living Presence of Christ.
With this understanding, the people of Holy Redeemer Catholic Community have given prayerful assent to the following statements of belief.
Whereas: All human beings are children of the One God, created in the Divine Image and called forth into existence by this same gracious God to serve each other in this time and place; and
Whereas: We define ourselves as Christians who have found a unique approach to this One God through the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who lived among us and demonstrated the fullness of what it means to be human, and who furthermore revealed the means to living a life transcending all limitations, including death; and
Whereas: We recognize our unity in diverse gifts and perspectives, we, the people of Holy Redeemer Catholic Community submit the following Foundational Principles to all who pray and work with us for justice and tolerance in the Church and in our world.
1. Catholicism is, at its core, not a denomination but an experience. It is the human experience informed by and understood through the experiences of others, reaching back over 2,000 years.
2. We understand these experiences contextually and metaphorically, and through the diverse components of ritual, idea, story and symbol, we stand hand in hand with all who have come before us. Catholicism’s mission is to interpret and pass on these experiences which are ultimately the experience of God, the Source of all that is.
3. Through historical and symbolic understandings of Jesus of Nazareth we continually find someone who shows us the way to live authentic and transcendent human lives.
4. Catholicism is a network of diverse communities stretching back to the original community that surrounded Jesus during his ministry. Because of the diversity that has always existed in our Catholic history, we assert that Catholicism is a spiritual tradition that continues to grow in its mission and understanding. It is never content to bask in past accomplishments nor does it transmit uncritically the observations and perspectives of the past. The Church is never perfect and is always a work in progress.
5. As post-modern Catholics, we understand the sacraments to be the primary symbolic rituals of our tradition. We find in the historical Jesus a person who had open commensality, which is to say, he dined with those who were the most rejected and scorned by the religious establishment of his time. This denotes the radical equality of all persons and is clear evidence that Jesus tolerated no discrimination on any grounds. Embracing the example of Jesus, we extend the sacraments, especially Eucharist, to all people.
6. We invite all people to participate in our community of faith and worship without insisting that they think like us or accept our theologies and perspectives. We embrace believers and those who doubt; we embrace traditional Christians and those who are skeptical inquirers. We affirm women and men of all races and classes, sexual orientations and gender identities. We welcome those who are abled differently than ourselves and all people of good will.
7. The Gospel teaches us that we are to welcome and nurture all those who come to us, without trying to convince them to change their culture or ideas—much less their understanding of what it means to have faith. On the contrary, we enjoin all members of our parishes throughout the world to be vigilant and to prepare for the inevitable need of their established communities to change in order to better serve the people they welcome.
8. The pastor and people of Holy Redeemer Catholic Community iare painfully aware of the manifold abuses of clerical privilege and power of the past. We hold that no one vocation is of more value than another, and that there is no place in our Church for clergy who do not strive constantly to demonstrate the love of God through service to others. Parish ministries and decisions are made according to the ancient principle of sensus fidelium, which is to say, by the consensus of all who comprise the faith community.
9. As children of God we are called to live out the compassion of Jesus for the least of our sisters and brothers. We affirm that when we incarnate the freedom of God’s children– when we live, breathe and teach the compassion we preach– we become transfigured persons. We begin to see the interconnectedness of all creation and all people. We glimpse the world as God sees it.
10. We hold that as we follow Jesus more closely, we become increasingly aware of the more difficult and costly aspects of that commitment. Self-less love, genuine compassion, and the conscientious resistance of evil have direct and immediate consequences for us as individuals and as a community of faith. We trust that God will always provide ample opportunities for us to assist someone in need, to make courageous stands for justice and, for some, to risk even their lives for the sake of the Gospel. In all places and circumstances, the love of God surrounds and upholds us.