The Pope is listening and eager to hear from all the people


Please read and share this article with your bishop or pastor: Pope to Begin Synodal Process With Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica | Catholic New York (cny.org).

The article reports that the pope formally opened the synod process last Sunday and is urging the bishops of every diocese to open the process in his diocese this Sunday Oct. 17. Call your pastor or bishop and ask him what the plans are for initiating this synod in your diocese. Let him know that you want to be involved and willing to offer your help.


Pope Francis is listening and eager to hear from all the people. He has called on every diocese throughout the world urging the bishops to engage in dialogue with the people. This process is scheduled to take place from October 2021 through April 2022. The pope wants to hear from all the people – not only those who are regular Mass attendees but even those who’ve walked away from the institutional Church valuing their personal faith over so called “Church laws” and prescripts.

To all people of God

in communities, parishes, and dioceses globally whether you are a practicing Catholic or have left the Church in frustration or disappointment.

Many of us have wanted to see our Church become more welcoming, more transparent, and more accepting of all. But now is our moment. Now is the time for us to respond to Pope Francis’s call to hear the voice of the people in order to discern where the Holy Spirit is calling us to be as church in the 21st Century. In his latest book Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, , Pope Francis says:

“This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities
– what we value, what we want, what we seek –
and commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of.”

He has called us to participate in a Synod of Synods, where dioceses across the world have been asked to consult with their people, leading up to a Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023. 

In the Catholic Church, Synods usually mean only bishops and only men. But this time, Pope Francis has challenged the clergy to be a “listening church”, to be open to hearing the voice of the people. And for the first time, he has invited lay people to send in their responses directly if they so wish.

The Root and Branch Inclusive Synod

In September 2021, the Root & Branch Inclusive Synod was held, initiated by a group of lay people in the United Kingdom, committed to the future of the Catholic Church. They set out to “reclaim its true meaning of “walking the way together,” listening deeply to one another.


What emerged is the Bristol Text with its four themes:

1. The redefining & reclaiming of ministry
2. The embracing of diversity
3.  A rethink of moral theology
4. The sharing of authority

Each theme consists of a brief statement of key issues, and a brief extrapolation of the implications of each issue for us today. Key speakers on each of these themes are available to watch.

 This presents for us an extraordinary opportunity to conduct our own synods in our own communities, wherever we are. The outcomes of these synods may be either fed into your local diocesan synod or sent directly to Rome (details below).

 A suggested process:

1. Form a group or community in your local place or parish (if you do not already have one).

2. Set up a regular meeting schedule between now and April 2022.

3. If your group is larger than 10-12 persons, you might want to break into subgroups.

4. Provide members with a link to the Root and Branch Synod and the Bristol Text

5. Invite your members to watch any of the videos that interest them.

6. Make a strong recommendation to watch Mary McAleese’s keynote address.

7. Gather your group together either in person or online via Zoom and begin with a prayer. allowing time for silent reflection.

8. Welcome anyone who wishes to share his/her own personal real-life experience of life in the Church; listen to everyone with equal attentiveness.

9. Welcome members to share their views of these experiences and, if not dealt with as Jesus would have done, offer solutions to how the situation could have been handled better.

10. Arrange for someone to summarize the sharing and solutions. Check out whether the summary is an accurate reflection of what has been said. 

11. At the end of your series of gatherings, write your own comments, concerns, experiences and solutions, to contribute to the Synodal Way. You may want to use the Bristol Text as a model.

12. Send your responses, comments, views, or even your endorsement of the Bristol Text to:

• The Synod Office: synodus@synod.va.
• and cc it to Sr Nathalie Becquart: n.becquart@synod.va; she is the only non-clergy voting member on the Synod Office Leadership team.

 We invite you to join CCRI in online gatherings

If you are unable to join a synod or start one of your own either online or in your community, we invite you to join CCRI in a series of online gatherings. Let us know if this would interest you: https://catholicchurchreformintl.org/index.php/news/news/337-ccri-synod-registration

This is our opportunity to respond to the call of Pope Francis, as he says:

“The Spirit continues to guide us in our translating the Good News into different contexts, so that the words of Jesus continue to resound in the hearts of men and women in every age. That is why I like to quote Gustav Mahler, that “tradition is not the repository of ashes but the preservation of fire.”

Regardless of where we are in our standing in the Church – members or non-members – let us all find a way to respond to Pope Francis’s call to “Let us Dream” and be a part of making those dreams a reality.


Supported by Catholic Church Reform International




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"...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.

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Sr. Joan Chittister, CCRI Special advisor

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