Year of the Laity
In view of giving visibility and voice to the laity in the Catholic Church, CCRI has declared today as the beginning of a worldwide celebration of the Year of the Laity. This will go from the Feast of Christ the King, November 26, 2017, to this same feast, November 25, 2018. During this year, we envision the People of God taking on a decisive and influential voice in the governance of their Church. This will never come by a decree of the hierarchy but only by the People assuming this responsibility. Once accustomed to this new role, it is our hope that lay people, by virtue of their baptism, will recognize their responsibility to heed the signs of the times and continue to lead the Church in the direction intended by Jesus Christ.
Inspired by the Brazilian Bishops Conference
We draw inspiration from the Brazilian Bishops who have called for the Year of the Laity in their country with this theme: "Christian Lay Men and Lay Women, Agents of the 'Church Going Out to the Streets' in Service of the Kingdom." We support the importance of increasing awareness of the laity's mission and encourage involvement of lay people to speak out against injustices in their society. But our objective includes an equally important dimension, namely, to change the injustices within the Church.
Pope Francis has repeatedly noted the ill effects of clericalism in "infantilizing" the laity. So, our support for a Year of the Laity is a risk taken in hopes that CCRI can contribute to empowering and energizing the laity as envisioned by Vatican II. In a letter to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who heads the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, we invited him to join with us in taking this concept worldwide. Significant change in the governance of the Church cannot happen by one group alone or one country alone. It can only occur when enough people from the grassroots around the world declare the time has come for the People of God to take responsibility for their Church and exercise their baptismal vocation as "Priest, Prophet and Leader (King)."
To provide a universal place in cyberspace for the people to come together to share plans, opinions, and convictions, CCRI would like to offer this website www.ThePeopleSpeakOut.org as a clearinghouse for ideas from the grassroots about the status of lay participation in decision making in the apostolate of the Gospel. Go there now to share your activities, leadership taken, and comments.
During this year, we are also giving support to Pope Francis amidst his facing accusations of heresy: www.WeSupportPopeFrancis.net. Please visit here and offer your support and comments.
What a lay-involved church might look like:
- the people initiating recommendations for the selection of bishops,
- the formation or continuance of small faith communities (SCCs, IECs, and CEBs),
- the people initiating and enhancing pastoral councils and/or diocesan councils.
As Pope Francis encouraged us, let's "go bother our pastors," and make our wants known and our voices heard!
People's Synods occurring during this year
During this 2018 year, unlike any time before, a series of four lay-initiated gatherings are taking place. As part of our commitment, CCRI will offer promotion and support of these synods/forums with the hope that others will be inspired to call for something similar in their region of the world.
- Base Christian Communities in the Urban World, to be held in Londrina, Brazil in January (Latin American CEBs)
- A People's Synod Inspired by the Spirit, to be held in a Dallas, Texas suburb, U.S.A. in October (ACC)
- Sacrament, Resistance, Sanctuary, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. in November (CTA)
- 2nd Forum of the People of God, to be held in Aparecida, Brazil in November (GCN)
To all Reform Organizations
We see our task is to gather together what's happening globally with all the reform organizations and publicize your activities and projects. All that you are doing is intrinsically part of the Year of the Laity. As we hear from you about your various events, we will promote them throughout the world. We envision the Year of the Laity as just a beginning leading into a decade or more of the laity - of the People of God leading the way toward the future of the Church.
It is time for the People of God to take their rightful place in the Church - that of active leadership, involvement in the decision-making, and allowing the voice of the Spirit speaking through the people to be heard.
Grateful to all for your participation,
October 27, 2017
Calling on all who support Pope Francis:
Silence implies Consent - We must Speak Up!
"Alone, the Pope cannot change the world. A Pope for the People needs a People for the Pope." Gaston Roberge, S.J., India
Pope Francis is under attack by the right-winged conservative minority within our Church. Admittedly some of us are not happy with the speed of reform nor has our Holy Father adequately addressed the issues of clerical sexual abuse or the role of women. Nevertheless, he doesn't deserve to be accused of heresy. In Germany, several bishops, theologians, philosophers, spiritual leaders, and academicians have penned a letter to Pope Francis. If you wish to join in expressing to him "our gratitude for your courageous and theologically sound papal leadership," we invite you to go now to www.WeSupportPopeFrancis.net and at the top left click Pro Pope Francis link to add your signature to the German letter. While there, we also invite you to join a movement begun in Spain to "support the Pope and his reforms in search of a more evangelical Church" by clicking the Pro Pope Francis banner on the top right link to add your signature "to support him and follow him through the ecclesiastical 'updating' path."
All are invited to create an account on www.WeSupportPopeFrancis.net to share your comments on the website. We welcome your views, favorite quotes, and articles that particularly speak to you. Please share other sites which discuss Pope Francis's teaching in a constructive way. Positive criticism is also welcomed.
You are invited to join the Facebook group and follow these postings on Twitter. Go to www.WeSupportPopeFrancis.net and click on the icons in the top righthand corner to be taken to the pages.
Pope Francis: Embodying the Human Touch of the Spirit
"Without doubt, in Francis we have a Pope who through his freeing leadership witnesses to the world a new and different way of being Church today. His attempts to give a more human face to the Church in a way that makes the heart of God more tangible, may be disconcerting to many. Yet, the Spirit blows where it wills, and it is undeniable that in the person of Pope Francis, the world encounters the human touch of the Spirit." So says Dr. Kochurani Abraham, a feminist theologian, who left a congregation of women religious to lead an independent religious life in her home state of Kerala, southern India. The 57-year-old scholar has a doctorate in feminist theology from the University of Madras in southern India. She completed her bachelor's degree in theology from St. Pius College in Mumbai, western India, and licentiate in systematic theology from Comillas University in Madrid. Click here to read her full article.
Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther's Reformation
We Are Church Int'l (WACI) is inviting us to join in organizing vigils outside our local cathedrals and churches this Sunday the 29th of October 2017. It is an opportunity to stand up for the needed reforms in our Church. What Luther began 500 years on October 31, 1517, we can continue to move forward today. WACI would love to have photos from every continent in the world sent to them.
Document based on Sound Theology
- LGBT Catholics
- role of women
- divorce and remarriage
- husband and wife relations
- being an inclusive church.
- the environment
- world economy
- young adults
Please let us know of any additional topics that you'd like to see addressed.
Spread the Word
Please pass this newsletter onto your friends and family and post on your social media pages. The more grassroots support the bishops see for Pope Francis's style of leadership, the more likely we are to bring about reform and the more likely that the next Conclave will elect someone of similar outlook.
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..