April 18, 2015
Dear Supporters of Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI),
In the spirit of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council, CCRI is searching for a genuine sensus fidelium(sense of the faithful) that reflects the real concerns of millions of Catholic, former Catholic, and interfaith families about many difficult and complex situations affecting families today. We must persuade a majority of the bishops to understand how, all too often, church teachings and practices have negative impacts on the quality of family life for millions of people. This also undermines the church's missionary and evangelical purpose.
The vast majority of Catholics have had little or no voice in the Roman Catholic Church. But now, we have a great opportunity to seize this moment in history to give voice to the voiceless! CCRI is a global network of 100+ reform groups whose public action, publicized by direct mail and coverage in media outlets, will demonstrate to the Catholic hierarchy that the reform agenda of Pope Francis has broad grass roots support across the globe.
The Strategic Team of CCRI has decided to pursue three initiatives that will give ordinary Catholics a genuine voice at the Vatican this October, when a Synod of Bishops meets there to discuss important issues about family life and church governance. Our goal is to motivate the bishops to make decisions which are more just, more inclusive, and more compassionate. Your responses are an essential means to that objective.
First: Our research shows that many bishops did not use the Vatican survey at all, and many others gave only a token reference to it. Our alternative survey about family life issues was much more user-friendly than the one developed by the Vatican. Thanks to all who participated. We have summarized the responses and have just delivered the summary report to the Synod. You are welcomed to read it now and, if you can, to post it on your website.
Second, Since Pope Francis wants to hear from you, our Poll Drafting Committee, led by a professional research developer, is gathering personal stories of painful experiences of Catholic families – pain which is the consequence of insensitive pastoral care, negative institutional practices, and/or authoritarian church governance. This is scheduled to go out on Pentecost and remain out for an entire year. More information will follow and we hope you will take the time to tell your story. All submissions will be confidential.
Third, an Outreach Team is building a broad and deep base of support. This team will focus on making alliances with additional reform-minded individuals and groups in many countries, large and small. Significant growth in popular support will give our efforts much credibility when these summaries of grass root opinions and stories of painful experiences are delivered to all bishops and cardinals before the Synod begins.
CCRI appreciates your continued support. While we affirm our Catholic identity, we also have an ecumenical perspective that accommodates those Catholics who do not fit into the current Vatican-approved definition of what that means. Therefore, whether you are an active Catholic, a former Catholic, some other Christian, or not currently affiliated with any church, if you care about the need for reforms in Roman Catholicism, come join us.
We ask you to: (1) complete and return this reply form; 2) identify reform-minded groups whom you know; and (3) list your skills so you could be asked to join one of CCRI's teams. We need team members who live in each nation and region of every continent!
We are excited about participating in this historic and transformative movement of spiritual renewal and institutional reform, and we hope that you will join with us in our efforts. We must prepare to act quickly, wisely, and strongly! Like any endeavor for peace and justice, we must take strategic public actions during 2015 and beyond.
We would like to receive your reply by the end of the month to info@CatholicChurchReform.com.
If you have questions or want to discuss your involvement with CCRI, please email to the above address. Thank you for supporting CCRI's mission of co-creating a Catholic Church that is truly inclusive and welcoming to all..
On Behalf of Catholic Church Reform International
Rene Reid, Director
On Behalf of the Outreach Team
Larry Carney, Ontario, Canada
Virginia Saldanha, Mumbai, India
Bill Faulkner Virginia, USA