FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CATHOLIC REFORMERS WORLDWIDE PUSH FOR DECISION-MAKING
VOICE IN THEIR CHURCH.
Mary Ellen Chown, email@example.com
Ted Schmidt, firstname.lastname@example.org (416) 690-2220
Fr. Paul Hansen, C.Ss.R.; email@example.com (416) 466-5223
Atlantic Canada: Cathy Holtmann, (506) 476-1080, firstname.lastname@example.org
Western Canada: Therese Koturbash, (204) 622-7000, email@example.com
In his interview for a Jesuit magazine, recently widely publicized, Pope Francis has said that “thinking with the church” requires genuine dialogue “among the people and the bishops and the Pope”. It is in this spirit of dialogue that Catholic church organizations, backed by over four million Catholics worldwide, have collaborated in writing an open letter to Pope Francis and his advisors as they prepare to meet to discuss Catholic Church governance October 1-3, 2013. The letter requests that the rights and responsibilities of Catholics to have an effective voice in the decision making of their Church be acknowledged and discussed at the October meeting. The signatories to the letter are also offering to send a delegation to Rome for further dialogue on church reform.
The letter is respectfully supportive of the direction in which Pope Francis appears to be moving. It names the destructive effects of clericalism in the Catholic church as a major contributing factor in the clergy sexual abuse scandal and cover up, Vatican fiscal corruption and the marginalization that many Catholics have experienced in their own Church. Clericalism makes the Church less accountable and therefore, less credible in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Catholics endorsing this letter worldwide are hopeful that, with the leadership of Pope Francis, five areas of church reform will be undertaken:
i) greater justice within the Church
ii) a commitment to open dialogue
iii) recognition of the equality of all persons
iv) greater participation of the baptized in the governance of the Church
v) binding protocols to remove bishops complicit in the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
The foundations of these reforms are the Gospel of Jesus Christ, early church tradition, and the vision of the Second Vatican Council.
Press conferences to endorse this initiative are being held September 25 in Toronto, ON, Canada; Madrid, Spain; London, UK; Fulda, Germany; Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, USA; Dublin, Ireland (Sept.30) and Australia. In Canada, individual Canadians as well as the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE) and Roman Catholic WomenPriests (RCWP), among other groups are endorsing this call for reform. American reform groups Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful and American Catholic Council have signed the letter as well as International Movement We Are Church (IMWAC) which has the support of several million Catholics in nearly 50 countries. Australian Catholic bishops Geoffrey Robinson, Bill Morris and Pat Power, who initiated a petition protesting clergy sexual abuse in Australia (117,000 supporters to date), are also lending their support to this call for reform in the Catholic Church.
September 25, 2013