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Official Responses

  • 15 October 2014 - Email from Bishop Etienne of Wyoming, U.S.A. reassuring us that our CCRI concerns are being addressed in the Synod

  • Letter from Cardinal Ravasi, head of the office for Cultural Affairs

  • Letter from Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State for the Vatican,

  • Email from Archbishop John Dew of Wellington, New Zealand thanking us for the invitation to our Forum but unable to attend due to prior commitments.

  • Letter from Cardinal Gracis, Bombay, India thanking us for sending our recommendations and indicating that they will help him with his own reflections as he prepares to attend the Synod.

  • 2 July 2014 - Email  from the Bishop of Perth, Australia acknowledging receipt of our recommendaitons and promised to study and consider them.

  • 25 June 2014 - Email from the Bishop of Nashville, Tennessee acknowledging that our material (our recommendations to the Synod) will be helpful to orient him. 

  • 23 June 2014 - Email from the Bishop of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania acknowledging appreciation for our position paper recommendations to the Synod.

  • 17 June 2014 - Email from the Bishop of Rockville Centre, New York who promises to get to our attached paper (our recommendations to the Synod) after June 30.

  • 27 February 2014 - Letter from Sean Patrick Cardinal O'Malley's Office acknowledging appreciation for the time and effort we've given to preparing the documents for the February meeting of Pope Francis with his Council.

Worldwide Organizations

See the worldwide organizations who are speaking out to Pope Francis about the reform of our Church.


Petitions that have been signed over the years supporting similar reforms.



For a voice in the decision making of our Church

His Holiness, Pope Francis
Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Vatican City state administration
Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago, Chile
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, India
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany
Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa, Congo
Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, USA
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia
Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras


This letter has been drafted and promoted by Church Organizations worldwide. In order to reflect the missions of all the groups, this letter is urging Pope Francis to acknowledge the rights and responsibilities of the baptized faithful to have an effective voice in the decision-making of our Church.

We request that this be placed on the Advisory Council meeting agenda, October 1-3, 2013 and that acknowledgement be given to the rights and responsibilities of the baptized faithful to have an effective voice in the decision making of our Church.


20 September 2013

Dear Pope Francis and Brother Cardinals:

It is out of a deep concern for the Catholic Church, in the face of its many crises, that we, representing millions of Catholics from around the world, have collaborated in writing this letter. We are filled with hope that church governance will be discussed at your October meeting and we respectfully request that you give primary consideration to acknowledging the rights and responsibilities of the baptized to have a voice of influence in the decision-making of our Church.

Like you, we have experienced the catastrophic loss of trust in our Church, arising from the global revelations of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and hierarchical cover up. Abuses of power at the Vatican bank, as well as damaging disrespect and marginalization experienced by the laity, have caused many of our sisters and brothers to abandon Catholicism altogether. Our church seems unable to read the signs of the times and so handing on the faith to future generations has become ever more challenging.

In our understanding, what lies at the root of many of these problems is the destructive effects of clericalism.  We support your desire, Pope Francis, to rid our Church of clericalism in order that we become a community of equals called, through our baptism, to live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus. All Catholics have the right and responsibility, innately deriving from our baptism, to have an effective and deliberative voice in the decision-making of our Church. The full participation of the faith community is in accordance with the Gospel, the tradition of the early Church, and the vision of Vatican II.

To this end we have outlined five areas that reflect the hopes and needs of the sensus fidelium.

1.  A Church that embodies the radical justice of Jesus in the world

We are inspired, Pope Francis, by your compassion for the poor and desire for social justice as well as your personal commitment to live more simply. We want to work, as sisters and brothers, to build the reign of God on earth – so that all people may live free from oppression, war, unjust economic systems, violence, hunger, poverty, and the degradation of God’s creation. But our commitment to justice is compromised and often viewed as hypocritical because injustice exists within the Church itself. We hope for a time when all Catholics come to experience a joyfully renewed church that truly places justice and respect for the dignity and equality of every person at the heart of its lived mission.  

2.  A Church that welcomes open dialogue among its members

When speaking in Brazil, Pope Francis, you advised that “dialogue, dialogue, dialogue” is a cornerstone of all human progress, and we agree. The freedom of expression (including faithful dissent when required), freedom of reasoned inquiry, and the primacy of an informed conscience are vital to the health of our Church. We believe that prophetic women and men are continually calling us to engage the urgent theological, pastoral, social, and environmental questions of our time in new and inspiring ways. In this light, we recommend reinstating theologians, clergy and religious who, since Vatican II, have been censored and/or sanctioned for following their conscience. Secondly, as has been expressed by so many Catholics around the world, we believe that the Apostolic Visitation of US Women Religious and the investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious were unwarranted and unjust. Open dialogue cannot exist where fear of punitive action exists.

3.  A Church that recognizes the fundamental equality of its members 

Catholic teaching tells us that all persons have been created with equal dignity in the image of God. Therefore church structures must reflect this reality. Since all governance in the Church now rests exclusively with ordained male celibate priests, this excludes the vast majority of baptized Catholics. Therefore we recommend a canonical study of the feasibility of linking church governance to baptism rather than to ordination. With regard to ordained ministry, we recommend that identifying the call be based on individual and communal discernment of the candidate’s gifts, spirituality, pastoral sense, and theological formation, rather than gender, sexual orientation, or state in life. We reject the sexist exclusion of women from full participation at all levels of the Church. Equally, it is unacceptable to deny our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters’ access to full participation in every aspect of Church life and ministry. And it is unjust to ordain married male ministers from other denominations, while refusing to accept lifelong Catholic priests who have left the active ministry to marry. Further, divorced and remarried Catholics should not be withheld from full communion; their personal conscience in this matter should be respected.

4.  A Church with greater participation of the baptized in governance:                        

Addressing the needs of our Church requires implementing collegial systems and structures based on: participation of the faithful in the selection and tenure of bishops; reinstatement of the principle of subsidiarity in parish councils, diocesan pastoral councils, and national conferences of bishops; and inclusion of qualified lay men and women serving in leadership positions in the Curia.

Implementation of collegial structures will promote a culture of authentically accountable leadership that more fully orients the Church toward the common good.

5. A Church that effectively confronts and prevents sexual abuse

The scandal of clergy sexual abuse can only be overcome when the bishops who facilitate or ignore the abuse are removed from office and brought to justice by church and civil authorities with universal, binding protocols established and implemented. The Catholic Church must earnestly examine the complex of systemic causes that have led to this scandal of global proportions and do everything in its power to prevent it in the future.

 In closing, we ask you once again to recognize the rights and responsibilities of the baptized to participate in the deliberative decision-making of our Church. We offer to send a delegation to the Vatican to discuss our proposal further. We look forward to your reply as, together, we continue this important dialogue for the good of our church. We pray the wisdom of the Holy Spirit be upon you and your deliberations.

 Your sisters and brothers in Christ,

CC: Monsignor Marcello Semeraro, Bishop of Albano, panel secretary
     Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President, Pontifical Council for Culture
     Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, U.S. Apostolic Nuncio
     Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State