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by Virginia Saldanha, Mumbai
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI brought into public domain the numerous problems the institutional Church is besieged with but the election of a Latin American Pope brought us a ray of hope. A man with his ear to the ground, constantly “reading the signs of the time and interpreting it in the light of the gospel” (Gaudium et Spes, #; hereafter GS), he calls upon the entire Church to transform itself. He outlines the transformation in his first encyclical Evangeli Gaudium [hereafter EG].
In 1990 the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), articulated their vision for the Church in Asia to promote the role of the People of God, in the mission of the Church in the modern world as well as to promote communion and solidarity with the poor and marginalized sections of society without distinction of class or faith.
My paper attempts to take a deeper look at the vision of the New Way of Being Church and examine how it can become a reality for a Church of the Future.
While it is easy for those of us in the reform movement to be impatient with the slowness of the Synod, we must also recognize that Pope Francis did get a 2/3 majority on some pressing issues. The purpose of our letter is to honor the good that come from the Synod, lay out our concerns for what didn't get done, and propose a plan for where to go from here. We invite you to make your voice heard by joining with other Reform Groups and individuals from around the world to sign this letter to Pope Francis wherein we acknowledge him for his personal involvement in bringing certain behaviors and lifestyles to the table which were formerly condemned as sinful. We support the resolve of the Synod to build a Church of adult Catholics but share with him what still causes us pain:
We conclude the letter by acknowledging that we recognize the work of the Synod has only just begun. To address our concerns, we find it is urgent that a reform of the governance structures and clerical culture of the Church be undertaken. We further request that all the People of God be invited to participate in what remains to be done. In the coming months and beyond, we ask the Holy Father to encourage Church leaders to promote gatherings of people, pastors and bishops, in their local churches and communities, to dialogue in a spirit of listening and compassionate encounter, about "difficulties and uncertainties which challenge and threaten the family." If you agree with these points, you may sign the letter as an individual or on behalf of your organization or both.
Help spread this latest press release we have prepared by sending it to your local media and any other media with whom you may have a personal contact.
Hope for some kind of reform in our Church has never been more plausible. Francis is not only pushing for it but insisting upon it. We were far from getting everything we wanted from the Synod but Francis did manage to get a 2/3 majority support on a few key issues.
The time is now for us in the reform movement to unite together and be proactive. We are not content to wait to be invited to a local gathering by our churh leaders. We are initiating these meeting and invited church leaders to join with us.
We appreciate your help in using this email as a model and getting this message spread to every part of the world. If you don't get a response the first time you send the email, send it again. Let's carry out Francis's call to "Make a mess, but then also help to tidy it up. A mess which gives us a free heart, a mess which gives us solidarity, a mess which gives us hope."
This appeal was initiated by groups organising two international conferences in Rome in November 2015 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965):
All matters concerning the family and sexual ethics have been an important part of the reflections of our organizations and movements for many years. We were inspired by the renewal brought into the Church by the Second Vatican Council, which we believe has now been taken up very clearly by Pope Francis.