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Recent statements from Vatican officials, including Pope Francis, that women and lay people should be more fully represented in Church structure are undercut by the announcement of who will have voting authority at the upcoming Synod on Youth, say leaders of We Are Church International, a group in the forefront of global church reform. The list of those with the right to vote includes cardinals, bishops, ordained Vatican officials, priests, and even a few brothers. Women and the young adult lay representatives who are the focus of the Synod are described as “collaborators” and “observers,” and they are specifically banned from voting.
“Once again, the Vatican is demonstrating its total unwillingness to share power and authority with those of us who make up the vast majority of the Catholic church,” said Colm Holmes of Dublin, Ireland, Chair of We Are Church International. “It is a shame that those with the real expertise on the experience, gifts, hopes, and needs of young people are sidelined as observers as decisions that will shape their futures are made. And, of course, women, whom Pope Francis has repeatedly said should have more authority in the church, are excluded from the vote, as well. How long can this institution continue being so deaf to the cries for equality that are coming from every part of the church?”
Conversations are going on in all parts of the world about the most recent reports of clergy sexual abuse of children that have been covered up by Bishops under the pretext of "protecting the image and reputation of the Church." The truth is they are only protecting themselves and their clerical status.
We can be silent no longer. It is past time for the baptized Faithful, who are the Church, to take action. We invite you to join with us on our Facebook page and share your views on how we the People of God can move responsibly forward to be the Church as intended by Jesus.
Pope Francis has outlined his vision for a church that is "synodal" at every level, with everyone listening to one another, learning from one another and taking responsibility for proclaiming the Gospel. We at CCRI feel that all of us in the reform movement have spent far too many years trying to communicate with the hierarchy and convince them of the necessity of reform and restructuring within the Church. But are convinced beyond any doubt that our trying to change them is fruitless. Consequently, our strategy is no longer to put our energy into "reforming" the institutional church which seems beyond repair but rather to focus on "re-founding" the Church in the spirit of the early Christians. The Vatican is not the Church. By virtue of our baptism, we are the Church and we believe that we have the responsibility to enrich the future leadership and management of our church. But how? What IS within our power to do is to join or start small faith communities by whatever name they are called in various parts of the world: Intentional Eucharistic Communities (IECs), Base Christian Communities (CEBs), or Small Christian Communities (SCCs). Scroll to the end of this newsletter to learn what you personally can do.
Background re WMoF: There were two requests from countries to host the WMoF in 2018 in their countries. Neither request was from Ireland. But Pope Francis decided that the 2018 WMoF should be held in Ireland and this was announced at the 2015 WMoF in Philadelphia, the same year that Ireland had voted by Referendum to approve Marriage Equality (62% in favour). In January 2018 WAC Ireland spotted that images of same sex couples had been edited out of the WMoF preparatory Booklet. And shortly afterwards WAC Ireland noted an online video of a Bishop speaking about different family configurations was edited to remove all references to other family configurations. Both WAC Ireland and Global Network for Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) applied for stands at the WMoF. Neither was given a stand and a large number of stands were left empty at WMoF.
From: Francophone Baptized Catholics Conference, 76 rue de la Verrerie, Paris 75004
31st August 2018,
Dear Very Holy Father,
Following the massive disclosures of a large number of scandals of the Church concerning the sexual abuse of minors by priests, you have addressed a letter to God’s People, in which you condemn clericalism as one of the causes of this evil and you have appealed to the baptized persons to help you resolve the problem. We want to respond to your appeal.
August 31, 2018
Along with We Are Church Int'l, CCRI is asking for your support for young LGBT people attending the Youth Synod (October 2018).
Damage is done when a child or young person is made to feel that being LGBT would be a misfortune or a disappointment. Representative young people will be gathered from around the word this October to meet with bishops and share their
We can all help stop the damage of the Church's teaching that the gays and lesbians are living in a "disordered state." If you want to help, take the Equal Future pledge. They are an international humanitarian campaign aiming to shift behavior across the world, taking advantage of a unique moment in time, namely, the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, the gathering called by Pope Francis to dialogue with his bishops about matters of concern to young people.
With 1.3 billion people baptized Catholic world wide, the Catholic Church has significant cultural reach. Catholic Church leaders need to consider the role that the church’s teaching on LGBT has had in giving children and young people the feeling that being LGBT would be a misfortune or a disappointment. There is a Synod, or meeting, this October that is concerned about young people facing exclusion for social or religious reasons - not just young Catholics, but all young people, without exception. Each part of the world will have a delegate at this meeting and they have asked to hear your views.
Contact your bishop and share your personal story or the story of your children and friends. We know the power that human stories have to change hearts and minds and compel those in authority.
Thank you for your continued support,