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It is amazing how similar the battle for national rights parallels the battle for church rights. This week I received an email from civil rights activist and Georgia house representative, John Lewis. He was a friend of Martin Luther King and was brutally beaten by police in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 while marching for civil rights. In his email, he said: "While we have made progress toward a vision of a more fair, just and open country, the majority of Americans are afraid this country is headed in the wrong direction.... Some leaders reject decades of progress and want to return to the dark past, when the power of law was used to deny the freedoms protected by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and its Amendments."
Does that sound familiar for those of us who are working steadily for the reform of our Church? Could we not utter these very same words? "While we have made progress toward a vision of a more fair, just and open [church] , the majority of [people] are afraid this [church] is still headed in the wrong direction....Some [church] leaders reject decades of progress and want to return to the dark past, when the power of law was used to deny [the message of Jesus that is recorded in the Gospels."
Lewis went on to say: "It took massive, well-organized, non-violent dissent and criticism of this great nation and its laws to move toward a greater sense of equality in America....Often, the only way we could demonstrate that a law on the books violated a higher law was by challenging that law. By putting our bodies on the line and showing the world the unholy price we had to pay for dignity and respect."
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To young people, their parents, grandparents, and friends:
If you have moved on from the Church believing it to be outdated and out of touch with your needs, you have an unprecedented opportunity to turn this around. We have just sent out this press release and invite you to join in the movement for all people of all ages - and especially the younger generation - to speak up for the good of our church. To remain silent is to be complicit with whatever wrongs you see in Church teachings.To ignore the positions of the church that differ from your beliefs is to be complicit. To live your lives as if the church doesn't concern you is to be complicit. Pope Francis has opened the door and sent a letter to young people inviting you to speak up so that he can "listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism." All of this will culminate at the Synod on Youth, Faith, and Vocational Discernment scheduled for October 2018 where young people will be invited to participate.
While some will be invited to attend, all are invited to complete a questionnaire specifically aimed at youth and "their expectations and their lives." This will be available online by March 1st and will be found at www.sinodogiovane2018.va . Please spread this to your contacts and local media. Pass the website onto all the young people in your part of the world.
In addition, we invite you to join a movement urging all people of all ages to speak up and make their voices heard: www.ThePeopleSpeakOut.org . There you can make your views made known:
- By joining in the discussion on our blog.
- By gathering people together in your community and exploring the changes you want to see in the Church. Help to get you get started.
- And most importantly, by sharing the outcomes of your discussions so that they can become part of the agenda of the various Forums.
In his farewell address to the nation, President Barack Obama reminded us of this important reality: "Change only happens when ordinary people get involved an they get engaged, and they come together to demand it." It is time for us, the People of God who are the Church, to make our voices heard.
Grateful for your continued and ongoing support .
We are delighted by the many people who take time to send short reponses, generally of appreciation, for our newsletters. The Directors and Strategy Team take note of all they say.
From time to time there is a longer response which the CCRI leadership would like to share more widely..