United States

Brazilian Bishops Announce the Year of the Laity

The Brazilian bishops have announced a celebration of the Year of the Laity beginning on the feast of Christ the King, Nov. 26, 2017 and ending on the same feast in November, 2018. Its purpose is to increase awareness of the laity's mission and encourage involvement of lay people in the church and in society. The theme chosen for this Year of the Laity is “Christian Lay Men and Lay Women, Agents of the ‘Church Going Out to the Streets’ in Service of the Kingdom”. The bishops hope to encourage the presence and the action of Christians, 'true ecclesial agents, as ‘salt, light and leavening’ in the Church and in Society.

Call To Action has learned about this initiative of the Brazilian church through our partnership with Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI). CCRI brings together progressive Catholics from all over the world to participate in a global movement that works for change in the structures and governance of the Catholic Church. CCRI is in dialogue with progressive Catholics in Latin America who are part of the Base Christian Community movement. These Catholics are supporting the Brazilian church’s Year of the Laity and they are organizing a major meeting of representatives of the base communities in the Brazilian city of Londrina in January, 2018.

CCRI has written a letter to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who heads the newly established Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. This letter is calling for the Vatican to encourage bishops world-wide to join the Brazilian bishops in celebrating a Year of the Laity in their own dioceses as well. Call To Action members are encouraged to read the letter and add their names to this petition. This letter can be found here.

Call To Action and CCRI believe that a celebration of the Year of the Laity by the universal church is an opportunity for lay people around the world to become aware of their role in the church and to become conscious of their right to be consulted by the bishops in matter of governance of the church. In the most recent newsletter of CCRI, you can read about four synodal gatherings called by lay people during this upcoming Year of the Laity, including CTA’s 2018 national conference.

CTA chapters interested in organizing an activity in support of the Year of the Laity should contact our Executive Director, Zach Johnson, with your ideas. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Call To Action ask for International Support

Call To Action ask for International Support for fired gay teacher from Chicago, USA


A note from Don Pribor, Church Worker Justice Organizer.

Call To Action is a member of the Equally Blessed Coalition, a group of Catholic organizations who support the full inclusion of LGBTQ Catholics in the life of the church.

Matt Tedeschi is a former religion and French teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago who alleges he was fired because of his sexual orientation.

Robert Shine of New Ways Ministry (another Equally Blessed Coalition partner) has written about Matt's firing here and it has also been covered in local Chicago newspapers

Call To Action supports Matt and the students and alumni of St. Ignatius who are calling for SICP to be faithful to the school's commitment to be a community that works for social justice. St.Ignatius should not tolerate a culture of harassment of LGBTQ teachers but should teach its students the importance of respect for each and every human being, a fundamental tenet of Jesuit education.

rally was held in Chicago on Saturday, June 24 in support of these goals:

1.  LGBTQ student and alumni groups should be allowed to openly publicize at St. Ignatius College Prep
2. The non-discrimination policy must be amended and upheld
3. An impartial ombudsman with meaningful authority must be available at meetings and proceedings that involve employee discipline or termination
4. There must be a review panel that decides all cases of employee termination
5. Teachers must have more influence in drafting/ implementing and evaluating school policies that affect them; and
6. Teachers must be allowed to organize and form a labor union.

To voice your concerns and encourage the school to adopt more open and just policies, the President of St. Ignatius College Prep can be reached here:

Fr. Michael Caruso, SJ
St. Ignatius College Prep
1076 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Chicago, IL 60608
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A possible email could be :

Dear Fr. Caruso,

I am writing you to express my concern about the circumstances of the firing of Matt Tedeschi, who was a religion and French teacher at your school.
I urge you to develop a policy of zero harassment of LGBTQ teachers, staff and students and to implement programs that teach your students respect for LGBTQ
people. I encourage you to follow Pope Francis' lead in witnessing to the mercy and compassion that God has for all of God's children.




by Rene Reid  Reproduced with permission from OMG journal

In an address to the Synod bishops in October 2015, Pope Francis contrasted the hierarchy to that of the powerful of this world and concluded that it must be understood as an “upside-down pyramid,” with the vertex at the bottom rather than the top. Francis stressed that those who exercise authority are called “ministers” because, according to the original meaning of the word, they are miniscule, “the smallest of all,” he said. Similarly, in the religious community of which I was a member for several years, the head person was called the “Sister Servant.”


Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.



June 24 to 26, 2016
Revised August 16, 2016 (Reproduced with permission)

In the original presentation I followed the basic format suggested for speakers at Alcoholics Anonymous and other Twelve Step meetings: What is was like before.  What Happened.  What it is like now.  I have revised the original and expanded it to article length and have retained to this format.


The present era of awareness of sexual violation by Catholic clerics began in 1983 in two Catholic dioceses:  the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana.  This was not the start date of the problem of sexual violation but the beginning of widespread public awareness. 

The reality of sexually dysfunctional clerics preying on minors and adults goes back through the centuries.  In our lifetime it had been covered with a thick blanket of secrecy. It was unknown to the vast majority of lay persons and clerics as well.  Many bishops knew about it but when they had to confront real cases they did so in secret with only a very small number of their closest advisors, all clerics, involved.  Although they knew about sexual violation of minors in general, they were incapable of comprehending both its deeply pathological nature and its disastrous effects on victims.

Few knew about such abuse in the Church and even fewer believed it existed and this was due to the nature of the Catholic Church at the time.  Back in the forties and fifties there was only one Catholic Church and it was the visible monarchical structure, a stratified society with a clerical aristocracy that was made up of celibate men and the vast ocean of lay commoners.  The wall between the clerical caste and the “faithful” as the commoners are known, was steep and almost totally impenetrable.

FutureChurch commends Pope Francis' commission on women deacons

Urges inclusion of women with diaconal calls alongside recognized experts.

FutureChurch commends Pope Francis for his plan to create a commission to study the feasibility of restoring women to the permanent diaconate.

" This is an historic breakthrough, but we know that historically, women have served as deacons and continue to do so today in the East,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch, who pointed to a new advocacy website CatholicWomenDeacons.org sponsored by the organization.

FutureChurch specifically urges Pope Francis to include women who experience a call to the permanent diaconate, as well as other experts such as Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D, Gary Macy, Ph.D., and Sr. Carolyn Osiek, Ph.D. on the commission itself.

“Experts like Zagano, Macy and others have mined the historical evidence and shown that from the beginning of Christianity women like Phoebe (Romans 16) have served as deacons ,” said Rose-Milavec.