Pope Francis wants to hear from you – whether you are Catholic, former Catholic, a Christian or non-Christian.
Just fill out the signature information at the bottom. Thank you!
January 30, 2016
Dear Pope Francis,
We are Catholics who, like you, are committed to a Church that is empowered by the joy of the Gospel. This joy comes from the Spirit that calls each of us to participate more fully in God’s work on earth.
In your February meeting, you are now considering the question of decentralization. Would you not agree that it is insufficient for this process to reach only to the level of bishops’ conferences worldwide? No decentralization is possible without dialogue at the diocesan level with the full engagement of the People of God. CCRI imagines representatives of each parish elected by the people populating this diocesan level dialogue. Respecting various cultures, how this dialogue is constructed should be a local decision. We believe this accords with your vision of a Synodal Church, where all the baptized participate in our common journey toward union with a loving God.
For our part in facilitating the development for such dialogue, we are supporting gatherings at the local level, where people come together in prayer to share from their hearts, and to listen to one another without judgment. We are hopeful that what emerges will be an open dialogue with bishops, pastors, and the People of God – perhaps reviving the concept of a National Pastoral Council In this process, we must keep in mind the countless faithful who have turned away from the Church, especially the younger generation. Without finding a means of attracting them back into the fold, the Church will inevitably wither and die.
Having said this, we realize that Synodality requires training if authentic dialogue is to occur. The Synod’s recent sessions on the family have discussed issues that have long been of concern to Catholics, but public airing of different views is new to most local churches. Far too many bishops, fearing to initiate dialogue as openly as you did in the Synod, will be inclined to overpower the voices of the people. And far too many Catholics, having been conditioned to sit in the pew and obey the priests’ directives, will be reticent to speak up for the good of their Church.
You have skillfully brought the Church to this crossroads. Some have said that the recent session of the Synod on the Family was about doctrine, but you have instead emphasized mercy. Mercy can serve as a bridge from doctrine to the reign of God - a powerful medicine for the wounded because it brings the willing heart along a different path to a different place. It is a place not of compliance with the law but of joy in becoming a follower of Jesus.
For the Strategy Team
CC: Advisory Council members