2017 July 24 – Strategy Team meeting

Present on the call: Ed (Netherlands), Clyde (U.S.), Jean-Pierre (France), Don (Mexico), Virginia (India), Astrid (India), Christina (New Zealand), Rene (U.S.)

The newsletter has gone out to all our supporters

More improvements were offered and the letter went out on July25 th.  Once Cardinal Dew responded to Christina, a follow-up newsletter also went out on July 26th. All are asked to forward this to their pastors and bishops and to their circle of contacts: https://www.catholicchurchreform.org/216/index.php/get-involved/laity-family-and-life/231-join-us-in-signing-a-letter-declaring-the-year-of-the-laity

Follow up to our Letter to Cardinal Kevin Farrell

Christina sent our response from the Dicastery for the Laity to Bishop Steve Lowe in the diocese of Hamilton, New Zealand. He responded immediately indicating that he felt 2018 should be the Year of Youth to coincide with the Synod on Youth. Christina suggested to him that the Year of the Laity and the Year of Youth could work hand in hand – calling for the Church hierarchy to use this year to listen to the voice of the people – whether younger or older voices. Ed says that the response from Fr. Giovanni Buontempo on behalf of the Cardinal shows a positive channel of communication with the Vatican. He suggested that we might also send a summary of our young adult responses to Fr. Buentempo now that we have a rapport with him.

Christina also sent the Cardinal Farrell letter to Cardinal John Dew of New Zealand and received this very positive response:

From: Cardinal John Dew [mailto:j.dew@wn.catholic.org.nz]
Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 12:29 PM
To: Christina Reymer <cmreymer@xtra.co.nz>
Subject: RE: [CCRI-ST] I: Letter to Cardinal Kevin Farrell

Kia ora Christina

Thank you very much for your email and for the information you have sent me.

I have spoken with our Bishops Conference Executive Officer and we will put this on the agenda for our meeting we have in conjunction with our Commission meetings at the beginning of September.

Thank you for sending this on to me.

All good wishes


+ John A. Cardinal Dew

Archbishop of Wellington

This response has also gone out as a follow up to our first newsletter. Just confirming that we did not ask the Office of the Laity for the year of the laity. Rather we’ve asked them to join us in celebrating this.

Creating a plan for our next steps

We need to establish a plan for our next steps. Let’s discuss this via email among ourselves and the Advisors. Ed suggests that we need not overwhelm the Vatican with a long list of reforms. We need to focus on a reasonable plan. Clyde suggested that we put this in the context of the broader picture, establish priorities, and work this into our strategic plan. All are asked to share their insights on this. We should know that the Year of the Laity proposed by Brazilian Bishops is about the Laity out in the world. It is not about promoting the reform of the Church or encouraging the Laity to speak up. This is the twist CCRI has put on the Year of the Laity.

Preparing for Londrina Conference (January 2018) and Meeting with Celso and Daniel

Socorro belongs to the same society of liberation theologians as Celso. She met with Celso while in Brazil. Also Don and Rene had a Zoom meeting with Celso. Next step is to have Celso provide us with a short summary of the document that has been advanced: How can the Church respond to small communities in the urban world. Don will translate Celso’s summary into English and Spanish. We will ask everyone to reflect on this and send in their insights, which can then be shared with the attendees of the Londrina conference. What is the experience in the large cities and can we bring people together from big cities around the world? Call to Action is having one of their regional meetings in Detroit and could well be a part of responding to the Londrina document.

Astrid raised the question of whether the base communities are called by the people. Don explained that the CEBs were started in the 60s by the progressive bishops in Brazil. And up until the 80s and 90s, they were lay led. Then under John Paul II these lay-led communities were curtailed by appointing conservative bishops. Today, it is a real struggle. Astrid said in India the SCCs were begun by a bishop and are very churchy. Given this, her questions is: how much reforming would come from these groups? How do we overcome the conservatively-controlled mindsets to gather the voices of the people to speak up all over the world and incorporate them into the Londrina conference? Clyde suggested that in Africa, the bishops are supporting the SCCs. Therefore, the people may be more likely to speak up. But the local voices are still filtered through the priests. This is an important issue and deserves more reflection and discussion among us and our advisors. In Europe and in France, Jean-Pierre said there are not as many of these as there are in other parts of the world. They have more associations who meet to discuss how the Church can be more progressive.

The question before us: How do we shake this up – this is the block we’re striving to overcome. Ed said that changing the mindset may take another 50 years. Once we have Don’s translation, CCRI can share this with the SCCs, the IECs, and the CEBs and encourage them to interact with one another.

Don reached out to Daniel Seidal who, like Celso, is on the Bishops Commission on the laity. He has agreed to join our strategy team call next Monday.

Update on Aparecida conference (November 2018)

They had some problems with the hotel reservation and would have had to split the group between two places. Since returning home, he has learned that this problem has been resolved. They found a solution with the management of the hotel. More details to follow.

Conference for Youth near Jakarta Indonesia

The meeting is in progress at this moment and hope to have an update from Paul Hwang. Virginia will be there later for the theologians meeting. Martha Heizer (Austria) and Ashiknaz (Pakistan) will both be there. While Virginia is there, it would be helpful if she shared our Year of the Laity project with Martha to see if IMWAC would join in this effort. Based on Jean-Pierre’s involvement with Martha while in Thailand last year, he suggested it was worthwhile to discuss this with Martha.

Meeting with INSECT

Kochurani and Virginia joined the INSeCT meeting – International Network of societies of Catholic Theology – gathering theologians with representatives from Argentina, India, Chile, Brazil, Africa, Australia, Mexico Costa Rica, U.S. The conference was about forming solidarity of theologians to reflect the context of Vatican II. The kind of theology that is taught in seminaries is not forming the kind of priests they want. The formation must change to reflect the signs of the time.

Note: all items in red are action items that we have agreed to follow up and discuss among ourselves and the Advisors.

Thanks to all. We appreciate your feedback and insights into the direction we should continue to take.


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