Cardinal Marx Letter has opened up a new awakening for the People of God
Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI), acknowledges Cardinal Reinhard Marx for his courageous effort "to send a personal signal for a new beginning, for a new awakening of the Church, not only in Germany but throughout the world. By his letter of resignation, he is saying that it is wrong to simply link the clergy sex abuse scandal on the past thereby 'burying' what happened." Francis has rejected the cardinal's resignation and has asked him to continue with his current work. That includes his significant work with the Synodal Path.
Cardinal Marx's resignation was about the urgency of a radical reform of the Church calling on the People of God to assume far greater responsibility for our Church. "It is important to me," the Cardinal said, "to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades. My impression is that we are at a 'dead end' which, and this is my paschal hope, also has the potential of becoming a 'turning point'."
It will be a turning point only if the Cardinal has the backing of masses of the People of God. "This could be the catalyst for the emergence of a new church founded on Gospel values that is truly inclusive, transparent, and participatory of all," said Christina Reymer, a member of the Strategy Team of Catholic Church Reform Int'l from New Zealand.
What can we as the People of God do?
Pope Francis is calling for a synodal Church, that is, the People of God walking together with the bishops. He said it must stem from a “bottom-up” process that begins in small communities and in parishes. "Thus the three year 'Synodal Process' does not wait for instructions from the Vatican and the local bishop’s decrees from above, but starts from below."Francis has called for there to be diocesan synods throughout every diocese in the world this October - only four months from now. "Let us listen to Francis and not wait for our bishops to call these synods," said Rene Reid, CCRI director. "The time is now for us to contact our bishops and, whether or not he intends to call a diocesan synod, inform him that we, the People of God, intend to respond to Francis and call for assemblies to discern the forward movement of our Church."
Conferences of Bishops must now welcome laity as equals
Fr Joe Healey, a CCRI Strategy Team member from Nairobi, Kenya suggests: "Let us also encourage and challenge the bishops and other Catholic Church leaders who are waiting and not responding to the pope's call to begin this first step in the synodal process." It would be an essential move that episcopal conferences (made up only of bishops) be replaced by ecclesial conferences - with bishops and the people all having an equal voice.
We the People of God are being called by our pope to rise up and initiate the next steps. Let us hear the call of the Spirit and begin now organizing in our parishes, our dioceses, and in our organizations!
Catholic Church Reform Int'l recently released a survey inviting people globally to describe their experience of Covid-19 and freely share its effect on their experience of church, their place in the human family, and their hopes and dreams for our world. We were interested in knowing whether the experience of the lockdown had changed what is important to them and whether they intended to change anything about their life as they transitioned through the pandemic. Providentially, we find it encouraging that this is also the topic of Pope Francis's newest book: Let us Dream: the Path to a Better Future.
This broad initiative was in response to the Papal Exhortation on the Amazonian Synod, released in February 2020, just as the Corona virus pandemic began its global impact. Just as Francis immersed himself into the people and the culture they live in to understand the obstacles and opportunities they face, likewise, through this survey, we have attempted to do the same – really listening to the diversity of voices and seeking the Spirit-guided perspectives of the People of God. The survey was conducted from July to September 2020 in five languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese) with responses from thirty countries spanning six continents. While we believe we speak for a broader group, when we refer to the People of God, we are primarily reflecting the views of the participants in this survey.
The summary result, which we dare to call A Peoples Exhortation, is a parallel effort to reflect an incarnate journey and to collect broad perspectives with many points of connectedness. For centuries, the Catholic Church has tried to make everyone sing one note, but we believe beautiful harmony can be made from all the different notes.
|Synod as we would like for it to look||Synod as it has always looked in the past|
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..