Reaching Out to Bishops Asking to Be Included in Their Consultation

Reaching Out to Bishops Asking to Be Included in Their Consultation

Send a Letter to Your Bishop

Pope Francis is doing all in his power to guide the Catholic Church into becoming a synodal church, that is, a community wherein the bishops and people walk together in all decision-making. We have completed the 1st phase of the synodal process where the people were given an opportunity to make their voices heard about the Church in general and their community in particular. Trusting that many of us participated in this, now we’re moving into the 2nd phase, which will take place in seven regions around the world. It was assumed that this phase would be a gathering of bishops only but, no, Pope Francis stepped in once again and directed the bishops to invite representatives for the People of God into these conferences.

This week, the bishops around the world are going to be receiving the Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) which will set the agenda for these Continental synodal gatherings. However, bishops are being directed to share this document with their people, invite discussion over the next couple of months whether we approve the document and, if there are items missing from the DCS, send to the Synod office and to your Conference of Bishops any further changes that you want to recommend be included on the agenda for the second stage of the Synod. You are encouraged to send a letter to your bishop and/or Bishops’ Conference seeking to be included in the consultation process. Click here to see template letter.

If your bishop chooses not to consult with the people…

We need to be prepared when some bishops will not hold consultations. So what if bishops received numerous letters from the People expressing a sincere desire to be included in the consultation? And if your bishop chooses not to have a consultation, what if you organized people from your parish/diocese to have a discussion on your own . . . inviting the bishop to join you but going forward regardless of whether he accepts? This could be a formal meeting held in a parish hall or a few people you know who meet in someone’s home. The size of the group does not matter. Synods are expected to have diverse opinions being expressed and we are invited to listen respectfully and then take our turn to speak and be listened to in the same spirit. We have a couple of months to hold these sessions and, when the discernment process is completed, we can send our report outlining what we approved in the DCS and what was missing that we want included.

The email address and physical address of each Bishops’ Conference can be found on the Internet. You may also send your report directly to the Synod office synodus@synod.va letting them know that the bishop of your diocese is not holding consultations and requesting that your Spirit-guided requests be included in the DCS.

As we read Acts of the Apostles, it is clear that clericalism did not exist in the early Church. It is a behavior that developed over the centuries and Pope Francis is guiding the Church to get rid of it. Even Canon law reminds us:

“(The Christian faithful) 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.” (Canon 212 §3)

Through this Synodal process which has now been extended through 2024, Pope Francis is reminding us that we, the People of God, by virtue of our baptism, have a right and a duty to speak up for the good of our Church. We are no longer being “good Catholics” by just sitting on the sidelines. We are called to assume far greater responsibility for our Church community!

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Walking the journey with you in peace,

Our CCRI strategy team

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Speaking Out with One Unified Global Voice

"...Until we raise a common voice, we will not only not be heard, we will not even be listened to....   

My hope is that by speaking out together - a strong chorus of calls for reform - we can provide a common, a clear, a strong and ongoing voice for the yet incomplete vision of Vatican II.

In common cause, let us band together across the world. By our desire to be heard on particular issues - all of them important - let us not lose the strength of our common voice by reducing it to a whisper.

In light of this, we invite individuals and organizations to join together in making known our opinions for the good of our Church. By uniting our voices, it is not about abandoning the unique work of your organization but rather about how your work can enhance global reform."

Sr. Joan Chittister, CCRI Special advisor

"We have to join our forces in order to reach a real breakthrough in this window of opportunity." Hans Kung, CCRI Consultor

"When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion." [Ethiopian proverb]

"Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable." [Kenyan proverb]

"(The Christian faithful) 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." (Canon 212 §3)

CCRI is also interested in helping support various causes in regions of the world by garnering the support of our entire global community for those who need support beyond their parish, organization, or locale. Send us (1) your name and affiliation, or (2) the name of your group with some description of your goals, membership, and numbers. Click here to see those organizations who have already joined together speaking out for reform of our Church.

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