Catholic groups seek meeting with pope over reforms

Letter sent to Pope Francis from 52 organisations

In the letter the pope is urged to take steps to appoint more women to church leadership positions. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

In the letter the pope is urged to take steps to appoint more women to church leadership positions. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 01:00


Leaders of 52 organisations from Europe, the United States and Asia working for reform in the Catholic Church have sent a letter to Pope Francis requesting a meeting.

Included are the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland and the Irish We Are Church lay movement.

In the letter, they urge the pope to take immediate steps to appoint more women to church leadership positions and to end the practice of banning people from Communion.

“We share with people throughout the world the great joy of your election to the Chair of Peter and the abundant hope engendered by your vision for our church,” the letter says.

“Of the many issues you have addressed this first year in your new ministry, two have emerged early and often in your remarks: the status of women in the church and the pastoral care of God’s people.”

Speaking “as leaders of a movement of steadfast Catholics, committed to the best to and for our church”, they add: “We feel it vital that there be increased leadership of women in roles where they would be among our church’s most influential policymakers, and in offices where the only sacramental qualification for service is baptism.”

Women
They urge Pope Francis to appoint “talented, committed women . . . as heads of leading curial offices, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Pontifical Council for the Family, and others”.

They “hope to experience an end to the use of Communion as a reward for doctrinal orthodoxy”. Communion “is a sacrament of love and peace, of mercy and forgiveness offered by Jesus to all on the night before he died. It does not imply conformity with church teachings in all instances and it does not endorse all aspects of moral choice made by the recipient.

“It does, however, offer love and healing to Catholics who experience alienation and rejection.”