Our Forum in Rome

Two weeks from today is the opening of our long-awaited Forum. To keep everyone informed of what is happening and for all to be able to share your thoughts and suggestions, we are reinstating our blog.

The good that we have accomplished over the past year is that we have become a worldwide community . . . from India to South Africa and from Europe to Australia. We have stated our positions openly to Pope Francis and the Vatican and done so in a respectful but forceful manner. And we have managed to stand in agreement in most every step we’ve taken. One of our goals has been to be the Church we want the universal Church to become and we’ve done an amazing job toward this end.

The challenge we face remains the same as when we first launched, namely, our inability to level the playing field between the hierarchy and the people.  We have gone the extra mile to reach out and, with some rare exceptions, [http://www.catholicchurchreform.com/actionsOfficialResponses.html] have received little response back. Our feasibility committee discussed this at length and have yet to find a tangible avenue to help us break through the wall that divides us. Our presence in Rome takes us one step closer. Those of us with “boots on the ground” will make every effort to penetrate the barrier. But we will continue to need everyone’s moral support, prayers, and suggestions for what more we can do. As has been pointed out so well, unless we give the Bishops a reason to need to listen to us, the call of Pope Francis to his Bishops to enter into dialogue with us will continue to fall on deaf ears.

As we share our ideas with one another, please sign our current letter to Pope Francis [http://www.catholicchurchreform.com/OpenLettertoPopereappointmentstoSynod.htm] asking him to reevaluate the makeup of the Synod to include a broader array of families who truly represent the diversity of families worldwide who are struggling to live a Christian family life in the context of Church teaching. We are asking our pope to follow through on his commitment to “involve all the people” in this synod but including us all in the decision-making process and to broadcast the Synod publicly so that we may see what is being said about us and on our behalf.

Francis holding world - our logo

So let us open up our dialogue once again and continue our efforts to work collaboratively together, to listen respectfully to one another, and to do all in our power to bring about the renewal of our Church that we love so much.

Grateful to all of you who have stood with us through the trials and successes of our first year,



I have a dream …

Across the nation and around the world, people are celebrating the 50th remembrance of the Civil Rights movement. Simultaneous with this is the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The two leaders, Pope John XXIII and Martin Luther King inspired us and gave us all hope for a more inclusive worldview. But that was 50 years ago. The Civil Rights movement hasn’t reached its full objective but, most of us would agree that it is much further along than the outcomes of Vatican II for the Catholic Church.

In commemoration of Martin Luther King’s famous speech, I invite you to share your dream for the Church. I have a dream. I dream of a Church that is inclusive of all faiths. When they come to share in our liturgy they are also welcomed to share the Eucharist with us. I have a dream. I dream that the Church will become less clerical encouraging more of a voice from the people of God. I dream that the baptized faithful are encouraged to take an active role in the selection of their bishops in every diocese throughout the world. I have a dream. As we face a shortage of priests to lead our Church, I dream of a time when celibacy would be optional and when women would be given an expanded role in the Church. I dream of a Church that encourages the faithful to exercise their conscience in matters of faith and morals. In such instances as the use of birth control or divorce and remarriage, the faithful would be encouraged to receive the Sacraments if their conscience guides them to do so. Already, with the election of Francis, I no longer have to dream of a Church that recognizes that Jesus died for all who do good, not just for Catholics. I no longer have to dream of a Church that embraces atheists and those who love and share their lives with those of the same sex. Pope Francis is giving me hope. I have a dream that reform is coming to our Church and that we, as members of the Church, will have a part in supporting the pope to bring this about. I have a dream. What is your dream for the Church? Please share it with us now.

Pope Francis keeps stirring things up alluding to the need for decentralization

What encouragement to hear the Pope Francis’ words to the youth in Rio:
“What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! […...] I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!” (World Youth Day, July 26, 2013)

If his message sounds almost evangelical in tone, it is because it is. Pope Francis wants young Catholics to spread the gospel, to evangelize, and to focus on relationships, especially with the poor. His message is on de-centralizing Vatican power, and getting the gospel message, literally, into the streets.


Like a Rock Star, Pope Francis Calls For “Disorder” In Rio | TIME.com

Growing our Internet Community into an effective means of communicating

Janet Hauter, on our Board of Consultors, sent in this article. I think there is much we can learn from it: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130621110027-86145090-lesson-from-iraq-it-takes-a-network-to-defeat-a-network?trk=eml-mktg-celeb-sc-link2

Unlike Stan McChrystal’s Group dealing with the problems with Al Qaeda in Iraq, this is what our Catholic Church Reform network looks like.

And the Church hierarchy’s organization looks more like this:


Stan drew the conclusion that “If we’re going to win, we need to become a network.” I would prefer not to use the term “win.” But if we’re going to succeed in being heard by the Pope and his advisors, we need to become an active network.

Shortly after that discussion, a Naval officer on Stan’s team offered a piece of advice that would redefine their organization: “Sir,” he said, “you can’t steer something that isn’t moving.” So they did just that: they began to move, and never stopped. Constant change became the hallmark of their task force: “We became obsessed with perfecting our organization’s model for communicating, making decisions, and acting effectively. Most critically, from that point on we continued to adapt in order to make ourselves an increasingly interconnected and effective network. We began as a network of people, then grew into a network of teams, then a network of organizations, and ultimately a network of nations.”

Stan goes on to say: “Therefore, we approached our change with great rigor, came to guide ourselves by several core principles, and grounded ourselves in constant and transparent communication—all with the long-term vision of creating shared consciousness and common purpose across a globally dispersed organization of thousands.”

This has given me food for thought. We are gradually becoming a network but we must be an active, always-moving-forward network that gradually evolves into an interconnected network. At this moment on our 4th day of having begun our project, we are a network of people and have acquired just over 700 signatures – 90% from the U.S. and 10% from 20 other countries. But we need to grow into a network of teams, then a network of organizations, and ultimately a network of nations. I would welcome some feedback on how you see this happening. It isn’t enough that you sign the letter and pass it on to a handful of friends. If we’re serious about assisting the Pope in his decision-making process regarding governance and reform, we need to stay involved and keep our project in motion. Let’s use this blog as one of our means of communicating and discussing how this evolution might take place.

Hope and more hope keeps abounding for a decentralized Church

Let me share with you excerpts from the message Pope Francis delivered to the hundreds of Papal Representatives, also known as Apostolic Nuncios, who were just gathered at the Vatican from their diplomatic postings across the globe. This makes me believe that election of bishops in each diocese is not a proposition the pope would object to and is, perhaps, in the back of Pope Francis’ thoughts. Throughout their two day meeting, the pope dwelt on what is a Nuncio’s most important service, “the delicate task of carrying out inquires” into candidates to become bishops. He stressed: “We are pastors! And that we must not ever forget that!”

“I would like to conclude by saying just one word about one of the important points of your service as Papal Representatives, at least for the vast majority: collaboration in providing bishops. You know the famous expression that indicates a fundamental criterion in choosing who should govern: si sanctus est oret pro nobis, si doctus est doceat nos, si prudens est regat nos - if holy let him pray for us, if learned teach us, if prudent govern us. In the delicate task of carrying out inquiries for episcopal appointments be careful that the candidates are pastors close to the people, fathers and brothers, that they are gentle, patient and merciful; animated by inner poverty, the freedom of the Lord and also by outward simplicity and austerity of life, that they do not have the psychology of “Princes”. Be careful that they are not ambitious, that they do not seek the episcopate - volentes nolumus - and that they are married to a Church without being in constant search of another. That they are able to “watch over” the flock that will be entrusted to them, take care to keep it united, “vigilant” of the dangers that threaten it, but above all that they are able to “watch over” the flock, to keep watch, imbue hope, that they have sun and light in their hearts, to lovingly and patiently support the plans which God brings about in His people. Let us think of the figure of St. Joseph, who watches over Mary and Jesus, of his care for the family that God entrusted to him, and the watchful gaze with which he guides it in avoiding dangers. For this reason Pastors must know how to be ahead of the herd to point the way, in the midst of the flock to keep it united, behind the flock to prevent someone being left behind, so that the same flock, so to speak, has the sense of smell to find its way.”

So if the Apostolic Nuncio’s are tasked with the job of finding good bishops who meet these qualifications, then all that need happen is for the Nuncio’s to ask each diocese to have their church leaders come forth with the name they would recommend to be their bishop. How else can the Nuncio’s know the best man for the job? It seems as if Francis is paving the way to decentralize the Church. Do you agree?

Invitation to sign letter to Pope Francis

Pope Francis has been given a huge responsibility and he has demonstrated throughout his life his readiness to be a listening Jesuit superior, a listening bishop, a listening cardinal, and now, we believe, a listening Pope. He has also indicated his respect for the goodness in all people – believers and non-believers, Christians and non-Christians, Catholics, non-Catholics, and former Catholics. So it is with this in mind that we are gathering signatures from people of all faiths and all walks of life from all over the world. Our intention is to offer our help and support to the pope and his council of eight cardinals by providing them with a signed letter from people who care about the future of the Roman Catholic Church. The letter on our website will be hand-delivered to Pope Francis and mailed to the list of cardinals and archbishops just prior to their scheduled meeting in October. Attached to the letter will be a summary of the signees – their country of residence and their status.

We are also inviting you to visit our Reforms page and cast your vote for the reforms you feel are needed in the Church. Everyone is welcomed to join us in this effort to provide valuable information to Pope Francis and his advisors. Because there is power in numbers, we ask you to help us by forwarding our website link to the relevant contacts in your life and ask them to do the same. In keeping with this being a worldwide project, you will note that there is a translator tool on the site. So don’t hesitate to forward our link anywhere in the world. We have a window of opportunity to truly make a difference. Let’s use it. If you agree, please sign our letter and pass it on.

Rene Reid