Cardinal Marx Letter has opened up a new awakening for the People of God
Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI), acknowledges Cardinal Reinhard Marx for his courageous effort “to send a personal signal for a new beginning, for a new awakening of the Church, not only in Germany but throughout the world. By his letter of resignation, he is saying that it is wrong to simply link the clergy sex abuse scandal on the past thereby ‘burying’ what happened.” Francis has rejected the cardinal’s resignation and has asked him to continue with his current work. That includes his significant work with the Synodal Path.
Cardinal Marx’s resignation was about the urgency of a radical reform of the Church calling on the People of God to assume far greater responsibility for our Church. “It is important to me,” the Cardinal said, “to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades. My impression is that we are at a ‘dead end’ which, and this is my paschal hope, also has the potential of becoming a ‘turning point’.”
It will be a turning point only if the Cardinal has the backing of masses of the People of God. “This could be the catalyst for the emergence of a new church founded on Gospel values that is truly inclusive, transparent, and participatory of all,” said Christina Reymer, a member of the Strategy Team of Catholic Church Reform Int’l from New Zealand.
What can we as the People of God do?
Pope Francis is calling for a synodal Church, that is, the People of God walking together with the bishops. He said it must stem from a “bottom-up” process that begins in small communities and in parishes. “Thus the three year ‘Synodal Process’ does not wait for instructions from the Vatican and the local bishop’s decrees from above, but starts from below.”Francis has called for there to be diocesan synods throughout every diocese in the world this October – only four months from now. “Let us listen to Francis and not wait for our bishops to call these synods,” said Rene Reid, CCRI director. “The time is now for us to contact our bishops and, whether or not he intends to call a diocesan synod, inform him that we, the People of God, intend to respond to Francis and call for assemblies to discern the forward movement of our Church.”
Conferences of Bishops must now welcome laity as equals
Fr Joe Healey, a CCRI Strategy Team member from Nairobi, Kenya suggests: “Let us also encourage and challenge the bishops and other Catholic Church leaders who are waiting and not responding to the pope’s call to begin this first step in the synodal process.” It would be an essential move that episcopal conferences (made up only of bishops) be replaced by ecclesial conferences – with bishops and the people all having an equal voice.
We the People of God are being called by our pope to rise up and initiate the next steps. Let us hear the call of the Spirit and begin now organizing in our parishes, our dioceses, and in our organizations!