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Engaging the people in Pope Francis synods

To Bishops and Pastors in the Catholic Church:

Pope Francis has called for engagement of the whole People of God in walking, discerning, governing, and evangelizing together to make fruitful the Synod on Synodality soon to begin on the local level this fall. It is our hope that every diocese throughout the world will hold a synod (a gathering of bishops to listen to the voices of the laity) between October 2021 and April 2022.

The early church was a community of equals, governed by Christ’s “new commandment” that we love one another. The community came together in ‘house churches’ led by both men and women celebrating the Eucharist and keeping the faith alive. The current patriarchal and hierarchal Church patterned on monarchy, is not what Christ envisioned, for we are all one in Christ (Gal.3:28).

We call on the bishops and pastors of the Catholic Church to fully engage us, the people, in the forthcoming synodal process called by Pope Francis. Beginning at the diocesan level, we want our voices to be heard and included in all discussions continuing on to reach the national level and finally the universal synod in Rome in 2023.

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We are heartened by Pope Francis’s comments to the Italian bishops (May 24) that the Synod must have a “bottom-up” focus with the process beginning in small, local communities and parishes. He called for patience, allowing all to speak freely, giving space to “the wisdom of the People of God.”

We are eager to join with others in our local community to speak out in support of the changes we want and need in our Church. Even if some of us have left the Church in frustration or disappointment, we recognize that now is the time to tell you, our church leaders, what drove us away.

For the Spirit to be heard, the lay People of God must be well represented at these synods. We feel it is essential to include the following topics both (1) in the questionnaire soon to be released, and (2) in all synodal discussions at all levels.

How the Church can become more welcoming, forgiving, loving, and inclusive

  • Women's role in Church ministry
  • A path back to the Sacraments for the divorced and remarried
  • Place of the LGBTQ community in the Church
  • Role of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in the official structure of the Church
  • Lay people trained to administer in parishes and Small Christian Communities where it is anticipated that no priest will be available
  • Should celibacy for priests be optional
  • Transparency and accountability in the clerical sex abuse, financial crimes, and their use of power in the Church.

Additionally, we commit to sending a letter to our bishop or pastor to ensure that the views of the laity are well represented.

Press Release


19 March 2021

Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI), joins with the outrage of millions of people from around the world disgusted by the Vatican's recent statement forbidding Church blessings for same-sex couples. Together with We Are Church Int’l, Future Church, and numerous Catholic bishops from around the world we, too, support all movements within the Church to continue blessing same sex relationships. The statement released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith saying that the church cannot bless gay unions is based on an outdated church position that they are “not ordered to the Creator’s plan.” What is worse, the document said the pope was “informed” and “assented” to its publication. After the welcoming outreach of Pope Francis regarding the pastoral care of LGBT+ persons and his support of civil unions, we at CCRI agree with America magazine journalist Gerard O’Connell that it is significant that the document used such a tentative phrase in lieu of the more usual language of “approved” and “ordered its publication.” Pope Francis, we know you did not order the publication of this document. You cannot remain silent on this issue. You must come out publicly and state your position on this matter or what you fear most, a schism in the Church, will be inevitable. “For decades now the Church has been losing credibility with her Faithful, but this statement destroys any authority the Church has left over the people,” says Rene Reid, CCRI director. “No condemnatory pronouncement from the Vatican can stop the Spirit’s movement of our Church from blessing all of God’s people.”

CCRI Contact:  Ms Rene Reid, director

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Telephone: +775-825-9196 off; +775-772-1210 cell

Announcing the Peoples Synod

Inviting thinking Catholics and Christians to dialogue

These events will be held online Saturdays: August 8, 15, 22 and 29

A message from the American Catholic Council:

After decades of research and communication with some in the hierarchy of our Church and trusted People of God, it's become obvious that as we are "victims" of our global culture and context swirling to remake itself and us. In many cases, it is succeeding---on both fronts. We ask the burning question: Where is our faith in such times? Do we choose to remain impotent as the culture re-forms us or do we choose the converse?

Clearly, we have chosen the latter. We are engaging in an experiment to test the hypothesis that Christians are ready now, willing now, and able now to live the common values of our faith intentionally with the same courage Jesus had. We developed the Peoples Synod to give voice to the People of God, just as synods provide the hierarchy with dialogue on issues that internally concern the institutional Church. We, however, live in a bigger world, an external reality, often beaten to submission by a secular hierarchy that tells us what to think, who to believe, and what to do about it.

We are challenging Christians to think, to be creative, to see new frontiers that match our reality. We already share a common perspective that all lives matter and relationships, primary deep relationships, are the cornerstone of our faith. After all, Scripture is all about relationships, the good, the bad and the ugly, and stories are there to teach us about lives with purpose and those, without.

Come join us for four consecutive Saturdays in August (beginning August 8) for either the morning or afternoon session that will stimulate us to think bigger, to see the potential we have and to create the possibilities we long for. We live in a context of cynicism that keeps many of us mute to speak out on the problems of the day. What would our world be like with thinking Catholics and Christians? Now, there is a dangerous thought to explore.

Urbi et Orbi Blessing 2020

Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Easter!

Today the Church’s proclamation echoes throughout the world: “Jesus Christ is risen!” – “He is truly risen!”.

Like a new flame this Good News springs up in the night: the night of a world already faced with epochal challenges and now oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family. In this night, the Church’s voice rings out: “Christ, my hope, has arisen!” (Easter Sequence).