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Advocates for Reform See Continuity in Comments of Pope Francis on Women's Ordination

People in reform organizations from North America, India, Africa, Europe and Oceana have responded with care to what Pope Francis is saying about women's ordination. Along with Pope Francis, reformers recognize that in the current teaching of the Church, the Magisterium is without authority to ordain women.  This teaching, as expressed by Pope John Paul II in his apostolic letter of 1994, is an impediment to full removal of gender discrimination from priestly ministry.  For many faithful conservatives, current teaching is part of the deposit of faith.  As reformers see it, Francis has a fiduciary responsibility for a worldwide Church, and this responsibility includes consideration of these members of the faithful as well as consideration of those who see gender discrimination in priestly ministry as contrary to the whole of Christ's teaching. 

When asked if he saw the ordination of women as something that would "never, ever" happen, Francis said that John Paul's apostolic letter "goes in that direction." This is consistent with the obligation upon a fiduciary to preserve continuity over the course of a history which continues to respond to the Spirit of Christ.  Reformers see his words as still another in a long series of invitations for the "grassroots" to follow through on their heritage as full members of the People of God, serving as a channel for the Church to listen more closely to the voice of the Spirit.  Reformers note that the Biblical Commission appointed in 1976 by Pope Paul VI found nothing in the New Testament which prohibits the ordination of women, a conclusion which leaves the question of women's ordination open for further reflection.

Catholic Reform Group Urges New Department for the Laity, Family, and Life to Actively Collaborate with Lay-led Initiatives


1 September 2016

Contact: Rene Reid
Work phone: 775-825-9196; Cell phone: 775-772-1210
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Catholic Reform Group Urges New Department for the Laity, Family, and Life to Actively Collaborate with Lay-led Initiatives

By Cynthiab8s (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsCatholic Church Reform Int'l urges newly appointed Bishop Kevin Farrell to welcome and support lay-led initiatives as he launches the Dicastery for the Laity today.

While acknowledging disappointment that a lay person, a family man or woman, was not assigned to head the department for the laity, family and life, through an Open Letter, Catholic Church Reform Int'l congratulates the recently appointed head, Bishop Kevin Farrell, for having long pushed for a greater involvement of the laity in the life of the church. The Reform Group asks specifically for these actions to be part of the new department:

  1.  In filling your 35-member staff, set as a goal that the majority of staff members will be made up of qualified `lay Catholics from various parts of the world who share Pope Francis's vision for the pastoral care of the Church.
  2.  Staff members will have - not only an advisory role but - an influential and deliberative voice in the proceedings of this department.
  3. When the vision of your department aligns with lay-led initiatives, that you offer your full support and willingness to collaborate with such movements.

"Pope Francis continues to call for the laity to 'play a major role in the life and mission of the church,'" says CCRI director, Rene Reid. "He seems to recognize that the reform needed will not come without the people speaking up and assuming some leadership. With this new department being launched today, we fully expect lay-led initiatives to be welcomed and supported." A case in point: In 1968 South American bishops held a conference in Meddellin Columbia where the principles of the Second Vatican Council were emphasized. Now 50 years later in 2018, a group of lay-led Catholics calling themselves Council 50 are calling for a People's Synod to be held in Brazil to carry on the work still left undone by the Vatican Council. "We've had two recent synods attended primarily by bishops. The time is right to call a People's Synod and we hope to see this new dicastery support us in our efforts," says Ed Schreurs, a member of both CCRI and Council 50. The group is currently in process of collecting an opinion poll and calling local dialogue meetings for the purpose of producing statements that will be placed on the agenda of the 2018 Synod. Agreeing with the critical importance of calling local gatherings where the people can share their opinions with one another, Catholic Church Reform Int'l is currently encouraging these small local gatherings in communities in various cities around the world. All are welcomed to participate and let their voice be heard.