Rome – The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops will be held from October 5-18th, 2014 at the Vatican. The synod will reflect on the theme “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelization.”
On the even of the Synod, Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI), established in 2013, a global network of more than a hundred organizations and individuals from over 60 countries seeking basic reforms of the Catholic Church through a united voice and collaborative action, will hold a two day conference, 3-4 October at Oratory of San Francesco Saverio del Caravita, Rome. .
In a press release CCRI is calling on the Synod to model the spirit of Pope Francis and to be inclusive of Catholic families in all their diversities. CCRI is calling for inclusion of the Faithful in decision-making activities engaged by Vatican leadership; i.e., shared rights, responsibilities, and prophetic values among all the People of God.
In an effort to help Synod Fathers acknowledge the outcry of the Faithful, CCRI prepared a 28-page position paper entitled Listening to the Faithful: Recommendations to the Synod on the Family encouraging the Synod to review and revise some of the long-time Church teachings on the family: http://www.catholicchurchreform.com/PositionPapers.htm. The paper covers four topics based on the Vatican Questionnaire urging the Bishops to translate prohibitions into compassionate counselling based on the primacy of conscience:
(1) Move away from the hierarchy’s rules-based culture and support all efforts of the Faithful to develop genuine, loving, and fulfilling relationships.
(2) Move beyond setting narrow restrictions on birth control by promoting all kinds of openness to life and care for our planet.
(3) Recognize that gender neither defines the roles nor the tasks that people are capable of taking on either in the Church or in Society; rather, their talents and gifts should be the criteria.
(4) Proclaim that the truth in our Church is expressed through the sensus fidelium – priest, religious, and the people all learning and teaching together.
These papers were sent to the Synod Secretariat, to Pope Francis and his Council of eight, to the President of every Bishops’ Conference throughout the world, to every U.S. bishop, and to other bishops upon the request of our members.
In addition to our position papers, in an effort to gain a wider perspective, CCRI has been holding online and regional gatherings globally, giving communities of families the opportunity to discuss their challenges as families and to propose solutions for addressing them. All have been offered the opportunity to participate through online surveys linked to the topics of the position papers. This is the only effort that has been made by any group, as far as we are aware, to formally gather the sense of the faithful from around the world. A summary report of all of these will be provided to the Synod during our time in Rome. (Copies are available upon request.)
“CCRI was overjoyed when Cardinal Baldisseri revamped the agenda, the Instrumentum Laboris, after he indicated that he had received input form the bishop-delegates and from eight hundred Catholic organizations,” said Robert Blair Kaiser, co-founder of CCRI. “We knew we were among them.”
Beyond the Synod on the Family, CCRI’s overall mission is to transform the very structure, culture, and climate of the Church: the way the Church governs itself; the selection process of those who govern (as bishops); changing the way bishops collaborate co-responsibly with all the faithful in the tasks of teaching, sanctifying and governing; and insisting that those who govern set up pastoral councils and diocesan synods which will allow the sensus fidei fidelium to be heard and felt; and providing a formal mechanism for all the People of God to have a functioning place in the decision-making of the local and universal Church.
In light of this, CCRI is gathered in Rome to support the Synod to do the following:
• Establish, at an early stage, many more effective forums at both the local and international level, where a diversity of ordinary families can engage in dialogue and be co-responsible with the hierarchy on the contemporary challenges they face;
• Ensure that all communities and cultures throughout the world are adequately represented;
• Take a truly pastoral approach to family challenges – an approach that is more compassionate, understanding, and supportive, and less prohibitive, authoritative, and unbending;
• Offer support to families in the spirit of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who and are burdened, I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11: 28)
Contact: Rene Reid, +775-772-1210, Rene.Reid@CatholicChurchReformIntl.org