Continued from September 6, 2013 Newsletter
Meeting called by Pope Francis
As you may know, Pope Francis has called a meeting with his eight Cardinal advisers, representatives from every region of the world, to meet with him at the Vatican October 1 through 3. We are asking that our agreed-upon topic be placed on the meeting agenda backed up by the data gathered from all of the Church groups. We have asked Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, the coordinator for the advisers, to be our messenger and deliver our letter and packet to the pope just prior to their scheduled meeting. The topics set by the pope for this meeting are (1) reform of the Curia, and (2) governance of the Church. Our objective is to address the changes we would like to see in how the Church is governed, namely, that we support the Pope in his desire to move away from so much clericalism and request that the people be given a voice and a vote in their Church.
Gathering of Data to be delivered to the pope
Between September 4 and September 20, we will be gathering all the data from the groups who choose to participate and have something to contribute. This could include any petition, initiative, referendum, outcome of a conference, agreement resulting from a meeting, a mission statement, a rally, etc., etc., resulting from their efforts over the past several years. All of this will be summarized for the Pope. If you belong to an organization and have an item – one related to the general topic of greater involvement of the laity, including religious, in our Church – that you would like to have included, please send that information to info@CatholicChurchReform.com
What challenges do we face? We admittedly have numerous hurdles to overcome. Some groups, particularly religious men and women’s organizations, will be reticent to participate even though they fully support the need for reform in the Church. Why? Because they fear reprisal from the Vatican or from their local bishops or because getting the approval of their entire community would require a great deal of bureaucracy, more than time will allow. So what is the solution? Pope Francis appears very open to dialogue and to hearing from the various sources both inside and outside the Church. He is clearly not interested in specific names of the individuals or groups participating. But he seems eager to gather input from every region of the world…beyond the narrow focus of the Vatican, the Curia, and the Cardinals.
Therefore, for those organizations who want to preserve their identity and have their issues made known in their name, we can accommodate them. And for those groups who, for their own reasons, want to support reform of the Church but wish to remain anonymous, we can accommodate them as well. What we need is the data: namely, the issue raised and the number of supporters of that cause, broken down, if possible, by demographics or status (Catholic, former Catholic, priest, religious, other Christian, non-Christian). If we are to be heard and taken seriously, we must be in agreement on a common issue and backed by large numbers of people willing to speak out. When Paulo Gabriele, the butler to Pope Benedict, was asked how he found the courage to release documents from the Vatican, he said: “I love the Church and I was in a position to know what was going on. I felt that to remain silent was to become complicit with the wrong.” And so it is with us. If we do not approve of the current status of the Church, it is incumbent upon us to speak out. For us to remain silent is to be complicit with the wrong.
Call to Action
We agree with Sister Joan that “until we raise a common voice we will not only not be heard, we will not even be listened to in the light of larger issues and larger groups, all clamoring for attention.” Along with her, our “hope is that by speaking out together–astrong chorus of calls for Reform–we can provide a common, a clear, a strong and ongoing voice for the yet incomplete vision of Vatican II.”
Across not only America but the entire civilized world at this time, people are recalling Martin Luther King’s famous speech: I have a Dream. I invite you to visit our blog. Begin your sentence with “I have a dream …” and complete your dream for our Church. As this all important October meeting draws near, let us find our voice and speak out on what it is that – as Catholics, as former Catholics, as priests, as religious, as Christians from other denominations, and as non-Christians – we dream for the Catholic Church. As we have learned from the Civil Rights movement, the power of the people can be persuasive with the people in power. This is a call to action: Let us speak out with a strong, united voice loud enough to be heard all the way to the Vatican.
If you want to contact people in your circle and encourage them to sign our letter to Pope Francis, visit our Facebook page. The first video reaches out to everyone – not just Catholics but to non-Catholics as well – inviting them to sign the letter to Pope Francis. The second video is intended to reach those who feel that women deserve an expanded role in the Church. You may want to “like” us while you’re there.