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July 12, 2017
Cardinal Kevin Farrell
Palazzo San Calisto
Vatican City State00120
Dear Cardinal Farrell,
We are most encouraged by what Pope Francis said in his speech to the Pontifical Council on the Laity on June 17, 2016. The pope's words resonate deeply in our hearts. He reminds us all that the call for lay participation in the evangelizing mission of the Church is not through a "delegation" of the hierarchy, but because their apostolate "is a participation in the salvific mission of the Church itself. Through their baptism and confirmation, all are commissioned to that apostolate by the Lord Himself" (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 33).
The bishops of Brazil have taken to heart this suggestion of Pope Francis and set a “Year of the Laity” to run from the Feast of Christ the King in 2017 (November 26) to the Feast of Christ the King in 2018 (November 25), marking the 30th anniversary of the 1988 Synod on the Laity. The National Conference of the Bishops of Brazil is sending materials to its bishops “as a suggestion for implementation of this event, according to the reality and the decision of each particular Church.”
It is the mission of the people of God -- the church that we all are -- to go outside the boundaries which we ourselves have established, to see God's handiwork in those who see the Gospel mission differently. This is especially challenging when the leadership of bishop or pastor is regarded as the measure of the Gospel mission. We do not know the mind of God for others unless we begin with what Pope Francis calls "encounter and accompaniment.” It would be helpful toward this end for pastors and bishops to encourage lay initiatives under the guidance of the Spirit, where the lay leaders themselves “test everything and hold fast to what is good” (1Thessalonians 5:21). As Pope Francis said in his speech to the Pontifical Council of the Laity in June 2016:
“We need lay people who are formed well, animated by a clear and sincere faith, whose lives have been touched by a personal and merciful encounter with the love of Jesus Christ. We need lay people who take risks, who soil their hands, who are not afraid of making mistakes, who move forward. We need lay people with a vision of the future, who are not enclosed in the petty things of life. And as I said to the young people: we need lay people with a taste of the experience of life, who dare to dream.”
Would it not be appropriate for you and your Dicastery to extend this idea of the Brazilian bishops to the rest of the Church? It is a joyful opportunity to carry forward what Pope Francis hopes for the laity. We urge you to follow the lead of the Brazilian bishops and send a letter to all the bishops conferences, offering the example from Brazil as a suggestion for calling the laity to take the full measure of their role among the baptized. This is an opportunity not only for engaging all the People of God in the work of the Gospel but also for supporting others who have so organized themselves, to celebrate the many different gifts of the one Spirit who unites us all (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
By taking this approach, you would be putting into practice, between the Vatican and the conferences of bishops, a servant leadership that “inverts the pyramid,” a model which Francis himself has suggested. This would serve as a powerful example for the bishops themselves to follow the guideline laid out by our Holy Father.
Who knows which conferences of bishops will adopt a Year of the Laity? But their freedom to act can be a model for bishops everywhere to use freedom in the same way to encourage the people to fulfill the calling of their baptism. This can truly be a watershed within the Church for a bubbling-up of the Spirit through the grassroots, embodied in local gatherings of Gospel-filled people – Small Christian Communities (SCCs), basic ecclesial communities (CEBs), and Intentional Eucharistic Communities (IECs) of all kinds whose love for one another is rooted in their love for Christ.
For our part, we resolve to support these grassroots initiatives by letting the People of God know they are not alone, that their place among the baptized, which is the Church, is not limited or defined by their place in a parish or diocese. In these days, a sign of the times is an emerging social technology that enables the kind of linkages that can bring a sense of oneness to those who otherwise may feel isolated or alone.
As a global network, we look with anticipation and joy to work collaboratively with you in the furtherance of the work of your Dicastery in the coming months and years.
Respectfully sent from our Church Reform Strategy Team:
Kochurani Abraham: theologian, speaker, and author, India
Clyde Christofferson: attorney and member of NOVA, an Intentional Eucharistic Community, U.S.
Barbara Dreher: CSJ; Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, U.S
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, Indian Women’s Theological Forum, India
Paul Hwang: Woori Theological Institute, Seoul, Korea
Paschal Kearney: retired Irish member of the Holy Ghost Fathers/Spiritans, Australia
Peter Mbuchi Methu: Interfaith Africa, Kenya
Alloys Nyakundi: liaison with Small Christian Communities, Kenya
Don Pribor, Church Worker Justice Organizer for Call To Action, Mexico City/Brazil
Michael Redfearn: digital literacy consultant, Canada
Rene Reid: author and co-founder of CCRI, U.S.
Christina Reymer: active church reformer, New Zealand
Virginia Saldanha: Indian Women’s Theological Forum, India
Ed Schreurs: Open Church Alliance, Netherlands
Nessan Vaughan, active church reformer, Dublin, Ireland
Young Adult CCRI committee:
Reena Alphonso (India)
Rachael Alphonso (India)
Liz Ngami (Kenya)
Zach Johnson (Executive Director, Call to Action, U.S.)
Reverend Joe Healey, MM: animator of Small Christian Communities in Eastern Africa.
CC: Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State
July 12, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pope Francis can be assured of the backing of the majority Catholics globally in his encyclical Amoris Laetitia and the reforms it encapsulates. Catholics around the world support Francis’s proclamation of a new spirit of love and mercy rather than a focus on the “rules” which have the effect of excluding so many.
The challenge presented by the four Cardinals (May Cardinal Meisner rest in peace) demanding an answer to their five “dubia” reflects the same challenge Christ faced when the woman caught in adultery was brought to him. Francis responded in silence as did Christ when the scribes and Pharisees demanded condemnation of her (John 8:3). Love trumps righteousness as Christ indicated when he merely answered by writing in the sand. One wonders what the motivation is of the Cardinals: love or fear? Where is the love for those they seek to exclude?
CCRI (Catholic Church Reform International) claims to speak for the majority of committed Catholics worldwide who wholeheartedly support Pope Francis in the reforms he seeks to institute, as well as the even larger proportions of disaffected Catholics who have been marginalized or have disconnected themselves from an institution they perceive as stuck in a medieval era. “We encourage the People of God to speak up and to take more initiative in standing up for the social values of the Gospel,” said Christina Reymer, member of the CCRI Strategy Team. “We are working with Pope Francis to usher in a new era that truly reflects the new Creation Christ promised.”
Contact: Rene Reid
Work phone: 775-825-9196; Cell phone: 775-772-1210
Somos cristãos e cristãs e igualmente gentes de todos os credos e caminhadas, de todos os gêneros, raças, cores, cheiros, brasileiros até o fundo d’alma, mesmo que alguns e algumas de nós não tenhamos nascido nesta terra‐caldeirão.
Reunimo‐nos neste texto para proclamar: estamos ao lado do Papa Francisco, por uma Igreja em saída, por um mundo que promova a cultura do encontro e não a rotina do descarte, por uma humanidade que acolha os mais pobres, frágeis, os sem teto, sem terra, sem comida, sem nada, em vez de tratá‐los como lixo.
Escrevemos para apoiar o Papa no contexto da crise político‐econômica do Brasil, dominado por um governo dos ricos, nascido de um golpe de Estado, com um projeto de destruição dos direitos trabalhistas, previdenciários e outros, com ataques seguidos aos pobres do campo e das cidades, especialmente aos mais vulneráveis, crianças, velhos e velhas, indígenas, mulheres, negros e negras, lésbicas, gays, bissexuais, travestis, transexuais e transgêneros.
Sentimo‐nos convocados e convocadas por Francisco para estar com os pequenos e pequenas do Mestre.
Levantamo‐nos, ao lado do Papa, contra a intenção manifesta de um fechamento eclesial que pretende transformar a primavera florescente de hoje no retorno à longa noite invernal. As posições assumidas por quatro cardeais restauracionistas e seus seguidores, que acusaram o Papa numa carta pública de “causar confusão doutrinal em relação a assuntos‐chave da doutrina católica” são a expressão de uma visão de Igreja que atenda a projetos de poder, dominação e controle sobre as pessoas.
Insurgem‐se os quatro cardeais e seus simpatizantes contra a Exortação Apostólica Pós‐Sinodal “Sobre o Amor na Família” (Amoris Laetitia), especialmente contra o direito de divorciados e divorciadas em segunda união partilharem da Comunhão Eucarística, baseados em falsos pressupostos de fundo moral e teológico que não encontram sustentação no melhor da tradição da Igreja. O Papa, no seguimento das pegadas do Manso e Humilde, vê diversidade e ocasião de acolhimento onde os olhos da censura enxergam apenas diferença e motivos de separação e exclusão.
Aos poucos, depois de anos de congelamento, a Igreja no Brasil retoma sua caminhada pastoral, profética e popular. Queremos muito mais. Não negamos o direito de livre expressão de pensamento de quem quer que seja. Afirmamos com desassombro, entretanto, que o explícito ou implícito apoio de segmentos da hierarquia a esses cardeais é um ataque à eclesiologia do Papa e do Vaticano II, que definiu a Igreja como Povo de Deus em movimento, muito além dos limites clericais. Não é mera coincidência o fato de os membros da Igreja que sustentam os cardeais rebelados sejam também aderidos ao golpe de Estado no Brasil e aos ataques aos direitos dos mais pobres.
Ao apoiar o Papa Francisco, deixamos explícitos alguns posicionamento que, entendemos, fazem dos cristãos e cristãs em todo o planeta uma Igreja em saída.
Como “Igreja – Povo de Deus – em Movimento” (IPDM), abaixo assinamos.
‐ Igreja Povo de Deus em Movimento (IPDM);
‐ Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI);
‐ Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT);
‐ Serviço Inter Franciscano de Justiça, Paz e Ecologia (SINFRAJUPE);
‐ Rede Ecumênica da Juventude (REJU)
‐ Centro de Capacitação das Juventudes (CCJ);
‐ Nós Somos a Igreja – São Paulo;
‐ Pastoral Fé e Política São Paulo;
‐ Pe. Paulo Sérgio Bezerra, articulador IPDM.
‐ Pe. Ticão, articulador IPDM.
‐ Eduardo Brasileiro, articulador IPDM.
‐ Frei Betto, frade dominicano e escritor.
‐ Marcelo Barros, teólogo. ‐ Mauro Lopes, jornalista e escritor.
‐ Moema Miranda, antropóloga IBASE.
‐ Flavio Irala, bispo anglicano, presidente do CAMI (Centro de Apoio e Pastoral do Migrante)
‐ Chico Whitaker,
‐ Stella Whitaker.
‐ Ermínia Maricato, professora USP.
‐ Frei José Fernandes, OP, vice coordenador da Comissão Dominicana de Justiça e Paz do Brasil.
‐ Thiesco Crisóstomo, militante da Pastoral da Juventude e liderança das Cebs na Diocese de Marabá.
‐ Aline Ogliari, secretária nacional da Pastoral da Juventude.
‐ João Paulo Medeiros, Assessor Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT).
‐ Rosemary Fernandes da Costa, educadora e teóloga.
‐ Franklin Félix, educador popular e Espíritas Pelos Direitos Humanos.
‐ Andreia Alves, educadora popular Centro Social Nossa Senhora do Bom Parto.
‐ Igor Bastos, Juventude Franciscana (JUFRA) e Movimento Católico Global Pelo Clima. ‐ Monica Lopes, Pastoral Fé e Política.
‐ Benedito Prezia, Pastoral Indigenista.
‐ Pe. Antônio Ferreira Naves, Comissão Pastoral da Terra São Paulo.
‐ Pe. Júlio Lancelotti, vigário do povo da rua Arquidiocese de São Paulo
To involve young people in preparations for the Synod of Bishops on youth in 2018, the Vatican has released the long-awaited online questionnaire YOUNG PEOPLE, THE FAITH AND VOCATIONAL DISCERNMENT to better understand the lives, attitudes and concerns of 16- to 29-year-olds around the world. The questionnaire - available in English, Spanish, French and Italian - is open to any young person, regardless of faith or religious belief:
Click on https://survey-synod2018.glauco.it/limesurvey/index.php/147718 and choose your language in the top right drop-down menu.
Given the Church's tradition of strict adherence to rules that many feel need to be reevaluated, there is widespread concern for her well-being. Many feel that its future rests in the hands of young people which underscores the importance of this questionnaire. Pope Francis has invited youth from all over the world regardless of whether you are Catholic or not, whether you attend Church or not. The questionnaire is purposefully anonymous so that young people feel free to offer an honest sharing of themselves.
The list of 53 mostly multiple-choice questions is divided into seven sections: general personal information; attitudes and opinions about oneself and the world; influences and relationships; life choices; religion, faith and the church; internet use; and two final, open-ended questions.
It is a well-known fact that many young people have turned away from the Church. Why? Because they are more open to a rapidly changing world, having grown up in it without the prejudices of prior generations. From this vantage point, they see the grace of God in fresher and more vibrant terms than a Church governed by older generations. From the perspective of those of us interested in bringing about needed reform in the church, the questionnaire noticeably avoids raising widely discussed topics, particularly those directly related to the:
1. right of the members to participate in the decision-making of the Church
2. welcoming of all to the Eucharist recognizing it as a sacrament of healing not reward.
3. treatment of the LGBT community
4. equality of women in the Church
5. sexual abuse issue by Catholic priests
6. responsible parenthood vs. the prohibition of artificial contraception
7. couples living together prior to marriage
8. couples entering into inter-faith relationships
The only question that opens the door to address any of these issues or others of particular concern to various cultures is the last question: What do you want to tell people about yourself which has not been asked in this questionnaire? We strongly urge you to utilize this question to share your heartfelt concerns for any needs you might have that are currently not being addressed by the Church or by the parish with which you might be associated. We believe that the future of the Roman Catholic Church is in the hands of young people, If the Church is to continue, she needs the voices of young people to speak up but only if you offer your genuine beliefs and experiences. The Spirit does not speak only through the ordained ministry.
The Church is critically in need of authentic voices speaking up and being heard at this Synod. Unlike the two Synods on the Family that were attended almost entirely by Bishops, Catholic Church Reform Int'l encourages the Holy Father to change the dynamics of this Synod on Youth by filling the chamber with Young People so that it looks more like this:
The answers to the questionnaire, along with contributions from bishops, bishops' conferences and other church bodies, "will provide the basis for the drafting of the 'instrumentum laboris,'" or working document for the assembly, synod officials said last January. It would also be helpful to have all of you who work closely with young people to complete the questionnaire.
Share this link on your Facebook Page and on your Twitter account. Let's encourage young people worldwide of all faiths to complete this questionnaire: https://survey-synod2018.glauco.it/limesurvey/index.php/147718
Thank you for your contributions and continued support. Your donations make it possible for us to continue our work to bring needed reform to the Roman Catholic Church.