Newsletter - 26 November 2016

To all interested in the reform of our Church:

There is a movement underway to bring together worldwide organizations and Christian communities who want to see the reform of the Roman Catholic Church and to work in collaboration toward this renewal. Whether you are an individual or part of a reform organization, we invite you to join with us.

1st Global Forum of the People of God, Rome 2015

The first gathering was initiated in the frame of the project Council 50 to respond to the request of the Second Vatican Council (Lumen GentiumIV,37)1 and was inspired by the spirit of Pope Francis to transform the Catholic Church from a dogmatic attitude to a pastoral and evangelic approach. It was organized in Rome in November 2015 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council and of the Pact of Catacombs. About 100 faithful Catholic delegates of reform movements, associations and communities from 28 countries spread over 5 continents met to bring together the views of their groups, movements, and countries, with the support of members of the Catholic hierarchy. Despite unique differences in their individual missions, reform groups came together “to work for the further renewal of our Church so that she testifies to the Spirit of Jesus and the strength of the Gospel to meet the challenges of our time.” This gathering was the 1st Global Forum of the People of God, Rome 2015.

The Council 50 declaration

As a result, the “Council 50 declaration” was composed, addressed to Pope Francis and signed by those in attendance, and a series of synods of the people of God was proposed to address the issues raised. Since then, many more of us have signed this declaration to which you are encouraged to add your signature. The signatories of the declaration and those who agree with its spirit constitute the Global Council Network (GCN). Please see GCN Newsletter 01.You are invited to sign the Council50 Declaration.

Numerous reform groups and movements contributed to the 1st Global Forum of the People of God (Council 50 gathering in Rome). Now still more reform movements are working together, in contact with the hierarchy, for a Catholic Church inspired by the Gospel and the Second Vatican Council. The objective is to have a more democratic Church with equality in rights and responsibilities between women and men. The outcome would enable the church to enlighten the people of our 21st century world with the Spirit of Jesus, and to be committed to peace, economic and social justice, solidarity, integrity of creation and human rights.

A series of Global Forums of the People of God

Last month, an international organizing team composed of members of the Global Council Network met in Rome to implement the series of Global Forums of the People of God decided during the 1st Global Forum of the People of God in 2015.  A report from this meeting is written in GCN Newsletter 02 letter info n°2.

It was decided that these Forums of the People of God will be organized in various parts of the world in order to take account of the geographical, cultural contextual, societal diversity of the Church. They present the opportunity for every community, group and movement all around the world to participate and contribute to make its voice heard for reforms in the Catholic Church and in society, thereby presenting an expression of the faith of the faithful, a true sensus fidei/fidelium (Sense of the faith).

Hence, the 2nd Global Forum of the People of God will take place from 15 to 18 November 2018 in Aparecida in Brazil. You will find a provisional presentation of this second forum on the Global Council Network website.

The The 3rd Global Forum of the People of God will take place in 2021 in Africa in a city and a date to be determined.

These Forums are made up of the People of God with the Roman Catholic hierarchy welcomed to participate since it is part of the People of God.

In between these Global Forums, local, national, regional, Forums of the People of God are being organized. Presently, the following national Forums of the People are planned:

  • for 2017 in New Zealand: contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • for 2018 in the United States: contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at . American Catholic Council has scheduled a People’s Synod for October 26 - 28, 2018 at the Renaissance Hotel in the Chicago suburbs close to O'Hare airport.
  • Others can be organized as well.
  • The outcomes of these national forums will be used to create the agenda for forthcoming Global Forums of the People of God
  • As other Forums are organized, we’ll keep you informed.

If you wish to organize such a synod, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in Paris to ensure coordination.

Why the name Forums of the People of God

In letter info n°1, it was suggested that these gatherings be called synods of the People of God. As you know, Pope Francis has called two Synods on the Family in 2014 and a second in 2015 - both made up almost entirely of bishops with the decision-making ability resting entirely with them. Now Global Council Network has called for synods of the People of God. During the last month meeting of the organizing committee, representatives from Brazil and Africa warned that the name “synod” might generate difficulties with their bishops and members of the Church, who could consider this name as provocative, since from the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church, only the bishops can convene synods. Furthermore, synods are aiming at producing “laws” or “norms” for the Church, but that is not at all the aim of these gatherings. Therefore, after a debate, it was concluded that, although the synodal structure would be used, these gatherings will be called Global Forums of the People of God.

You are invited to join in this movement:

There are several ways you can become involved:

1. You might simply wish to stay informed on the actions being undertaken. You can, for instance:

2. You might wish to become more involved by contributing to the reflection on appropriate reforms for each of us and for our Catholic Church that will be used in the forums of the people of God.

There are several possibilities:

i) If you are part of a group, a movement, an association, a base community, a parish, etc., the first step is to organize local gatherings in your community, your parish, or within the group of which you are a member. Beyond simply building a community, the purpose is (1) praying together to the Holy Spirit to enlighten all of us and the Catholic Church;(2) prompting and gathering the reflections of the participants regarding reforms they foresee for the Catholic Church; and (3) growing into being the merciful, forgiving, and welcoming Church for which Pope Francis is striving. The second step is eventually to discuss these reflections and improve them with other groups and communities in the vicinity, and the third step is to share these reflections by placing them on the website: If needed, you might find some hints to help you get started.

ii) If you are in a Small Christian Community or an Intentional Eucharistic Community, we invite you to share the outcome of your discussions.

iii) We are relying on the Small Christian Communities Network composed of millions of SCCs around the world (including 180,000 communities in Eastern Africa alone) to be a major catalyst for sharing what’s being discussed in their gatherings.

iv) If you are an isolated individual and not already part of a community, we encourage you to gather together a group of friends or fellow parishioners to discuss the changes you’d like to see in the Roman Catholic Church. Guidelines are available to help you get started:.

If you have questions, email either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or http://www.council50.org/c55/contact-us.

3. You might wish to contribute to or attend any one of the series of Forums of the People of God described above.

If you want to participate in or help organize one of the following planned People’s Synods, contact the following persons:

a. 2017 People’s Forum, New Zealand. Contact Christina Reymer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

b. 2018 People’s Forum, United States: contact Janet Hauter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

American Catholic Council has scheduled a People’s Synod for the U.S. October 26 - 28, 2018 at the Renaissance Hotel in the Chicago suburbs close to O'Hare airport.

c. 15-18 November 2018, the 2nd Global Forum of the People of God: Contact. Jean-Pierre Schmitz (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

d. 2021 People’s Synod in Africa. Contact. Jean-Pierre Schmitz (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

These gatherings are quite costly to set up. If you are in a position to help fund any of these Forums or know of a foundation who might be interested in supporting one or more Synods in the series, contact the organizer of the Forum.

Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to open our minds to his enlightenment for our own reform and for proposing the appropriate reforms that will bring Christian communities into one Body of Christ. Let’s all find our place in contributing to this significant movement in the Church.


[1]The laity should openly reveal to them their needs and desires with that freedom and confidence which is fitting for children of God and brothers in Christ. They are, by reason of the knowledge, competence or outstanding ability which they may enjoy, permitted and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church.