March 28. 2016
To church reform organizational leaders:
At this time when Christians are being persecuted all around the world – in France, Belgium, the U.S., and now Pakistan, it is time for Christians to unite and stand together. If the Roman Catholic Church is to join in such an effort, it must set aside its superior attitude and recognize the genuineness of other Christian denominations and other world religions.
Pope Francis has made it clear. He does not want to be a monarchical leader of the Church handing down orders from the top. Rather, he sees the Church structure as an upside down pyramid with the Faithful at the top feeding Spirit-guided reflections down to their bishops and pastors, who in turn, bring their concerns to the pope to request what is needed in their diocese. The challenge is that far too many bishops are not ready to relinquish their power and, consequently, are not inviting the Faithful into dialogue. If this process is to happen, it is up to the People of God to make it happen.
Will Church leaders ever hear us?
Not if we don’t speak up
,p> Pope Francis has called upon us as laity to make some noise! He wants us to let our pastors and bishops know our lived experiences and concerns. What would happen if people all around the world actually spoke up? If they gathered in living rooms, in local gathering spots, and in parish halls and begin making their needs known from all parts the world? The younger generation has largely written the Church off because its teachings are falling on deaf ears. If change doesn’t occur soon, this generation will die off, and there will be few left standing in its hallowed halls.
ORGANIZING LOCAL MEETINGS WORLDWIDE
This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good. (Pope Francis)
Canon Law 212 calls upon the laity to speak up:
§2 – The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.
§3. – According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
Call a Meeting in your Community
Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI) is supporting and encouraging you to gather local meetings of lay people.
The intention is threefold:
- 1st – Invite local Catholics, former Catholics, and those on the periphery of the Church to openly explore their needs and concerns about the Church. What is driving so many Catholics away and what would it take to bring them back? Let’s hear from one another about the issues that could improve our spiritual lives and our parish communities.
- 2nd – When the time is right, once you have formed a group who is comfortable openly sharing their views, invite bishops, pastors, and local clergy to join these local gatherings to listen to the real concerns of the faithful. The goal is to create a non-threatening environment for dialogue.
- 3rd – Share the results of these meetings with Christians all over the world. We are providing a means for reporting the outcome of these gatherings, posting it on our website, and making the reports available to the media, and eventually to Bishops and to the Vatican. This will provide a clear sense of the faithful from the ground up!
- Call on a friend or another member of your group, have coffee, and get him or her on board to help you organize.
- Discuss how you envision the Need, the Vision, and the Goals within your local community.
- Determine the model of gathering that best suits your local community.
- Start talking to others to build support.
- Call upon existing groups that might welcome some great discussions or perhaps another local reform organization.
- Call or email members of your parish or an organization of which you are a part and share your plan with them. Ask them if they would support such a gathering.
- Call or email friends whom you sense have been affected by church teachings in the past and ask if they would be interested in coming to a gathering to share their experiences.
- Schedule the Gathering and secure a suitable venue. Share this information with CCRI:
- Get the word out!
- Click <here> for a sample invitation to the people to attend your meeting.
- Click <here> for a sample letter inviting your Pastor, local clergy, or Bishop.
- Remember to reach out to former Catholics and those on the periphery of the Church as well.
- Be sure to publicize your event widely. See if it can be announced in your parish bulletin or, if you’re very lucky, in the diocesan newsletter.
- Email CCRI the details of your Gathering so we can add it to the calendar: date(s), time, physical location, city and country, and contact info.
- Click <here> for sample Templates for facilitating the Gathering
- After your gathering(s), the final step will be to complete the Report so that CCRI can collate the data you collect and add it to the information from gatherings all around the world. This information will be shared with Pope Francis, bishops around the world, and lay Catholics everywhere.
During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, what better time to create a groundswell of the People of God speaking out! If you have suggestions for us that would make this task easier or if you need further help, don’t hesitate to contact us. If every reform group were able to create just a a few meetings in various cities, imagine the attention we would garner. We would, at last, be heard! We could not be ignored!
That you may stay abreast of key issues occurring in the Church, please check our website often: www.CatholicChurchReformIntl.org. Thanks to Valerie Stroud from the U.K., our website is now far more professional and keeping abreast of news articles and current issues regarding our Church.
On Behalf of all of us at Catholic Church Reform International, we thank you for your support and for your generous donations.
Wishing that we all may experience the joy of the resurrection during this special time in the Church year,
Rene Reid, Director
Catholic Church Reform Int’l