Catholics for Renewal



See below:

  • Questionnaire about your experiences in the Catholic Church (24 February 2015)
  • Open Letter to Pope Francis - Concern with Synod 2015 Questionnaire (February 2015)
  • Global Petition to the Vatican to widen the circle of voices listened to at the Family Synod 2015
  • Information on a Petition concerning reports on Fr Patrick Lawson in Scotland (May 2014)
  • Details of a May 2013 Petition to Pope Francis from Bishop Geoffrey Robinson (click here)
  • Details of a March 2013 International Petition to Pope Francis (click here)
  • The CathFR Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Bishops of Australia
You are invited to respond to a Questionnaire about your experiences in the Catholic Church

Catholic Church International, 24 February 2015 (Catholics For Renewal is a member of CCRI)  

If you had one opportunity to speak directly to Pope Francis and he was eager to get to know you and your family, what would you want to tell him? You actually have such an opportunity!  We have developed this Questionnaire to open such a global feedback process prior to Francis' meeting with the world's bishops on the pastoral needs of families in Rome this October. Participating in this survey gets your viewpoint in front of them, helping bishops better understand the beauty, the challenges, and the heartaches of contemporary family life.          In light of the Synod Questionnaire being so unworkable, CCRI has made this user-friendly survey available to you. We will collect your responses and deliver a summary to the Synod Fathers. Because of the April 15 deadline set by the Synod, we urgently need you to complete this survey now. Following in line with Pope Francis's instruction to the Bishops, be open and candid. Feel free to express your heartfelt experiences - for better or for worse - about the effectiveness of the church's pastoral care for families in all the diversities in which families live today.  We have only a small window of time to complete this survey. Please make every effort to get this back to us as soon as possible but no later than March 9.

Open Letter to Pope Francis - Serious concern with Synod 2015 Questionnaire

Open Letter to Pope Francis - Concern with Synod 2015 Questionnaire  (February 2015)
Prepared by Catholic Church Reform International (of which Catholics for Renewal is an active member)

This letter expresses our concern that the Lineamenta Questionnaire released by the Vatican is totally unworkable. From our monitoring, we know that the Vatican questionnre is not being promoted on most diocesan and episcopal websites and, consequently, is undermining the desire of Pope Francis to hear from all levels of the Faithful. In its place CCRI is offering to release an Alternative Living Poll.

Please read our open letter and then fill out the form at the bottom of the page to sign the letter yourself (here). Thank you - Catholic Church Reform Intl. 

“widen the circle” - Please sign the petition for lay voices at the 2015 Family Synod

February 8, 2015                                                                                                                                            This petition, supported by Catholics For Renewal and other Church renewal groups around the world urges the Vatican Synod office to make every effort to include a wide diversity of Catholics, especially those from the constituencies being discussed including divorced and remarried people, cohabiting couples, interfaith families, impoverished families, single parents, families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, same-sex couples, and families torn by the violence of war and abuse. These women and men can share their lives and stories in a way that creates greater understanding among the bishops who will, in the end, make critical recommendations about the Church’s priorities and pastoral practices for years to come.

Please sign the petition (here) and share with your friends – the petition is to be closed off by Future Church, its main sponsor, on 3 March - so time is limited.

Petition concerning reports on Fr Patrick Lawson in Scotland

Cath FR has been invited by Judy Hagemen to make our website visitors aware of a Petition she prepared in support of Fr Patrick Lawson who was removed from his office in the Catholic Church of Scotland for public allegations he raised concerning his own sexual abuse as a priest in the Church. Based on the information provided we include a link to the Petition for website visitors to consider. Whilst not having firsthand knowledge of the facts the issue as reported appears to relate to our work on dysfunctional Church governance and lack of accountability for actions taken or not taken within the Church.

For Christ's Sake: End Sexual Abuse In The Catholic Church.. For Good. 

29 May 2013

In a new Petition Australian Bishops Geoffrey Robinson, Bill Morris and Pat Power call on the new Pope to "seize the opportunity of his appointment to not only sweep the Church clean but to put His / God’s house in order for all time". Launched only recently, at time time of writing this the Petition already has over 9,700 signatures, which is another very clear indication that many people similarly share the expressed concerns about need for renewal in the Catholic Church. 

CFR welcomes the signs of change initiated by Pope Francis in the way the Catholic Church presents itself to the world. But the need for fundamental reform in the Church's governance, rules and behaviour is urgent. This timely Petition adds to the worldwide groundswell of Catholics calling for Church renewal, nowHere is a link to Bishop Robinson's Petition.

International Petition to Pope Francis

CFR commends International Petition to Pope Francis
Initiated by IMWAC (International Movement We Are Church), Wednesday 20 March 2013
In 2011 more than 8,000 people in Australia signed a Catholics For Renewal Open Letter to the Pope and Australian Bishops concerning the critical need for reform in the church, which was handed to a senior Curia cleric by the then President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. So far and despite our continued effort and follow-up, no response to the substance of our Petition has been received. Since then a number of Catholic renewal groups throughout the world have been considering how we might more effectively impress upon the Papacy the necessity of substantial reform to properly reflect Christ’s teachings in the work of the Church. Catholics for Renewal has stressed the Church’s dysfunctional governance as evidenced in its handling of sexual abuse by clergy and a culture of centralised control and discrimination.  So many decisions and positions have alienated very many Catholics.

Through the advent of online petitions and global connectivity, many more people of faith from across the world can now join together in a common call for the 21st Century church renewal that so many hope and pray for.

With some reinvigorated optimism accompanying the election of Pope Francis and his immediate demonstrations of humility, Catholics For Renewal is pleased to draw to your attention and to commend this new, International Petition, to Pope Francis at the beginning of his pontificate.

The Petition calling for various reforms has been prepared by IMWAC (International Movement We Are Church) with whom we have been in recent contact. As the substance of this internationally accessible Petition is in general alignment with our own more detailed and well publicised views we strongly encourage your support, and pray for support throughout the world. Please encourage your friends and their friends to support this petition.  View and support Petition here.

Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Bishops of Australia

Dear Pope Benedict and Bishops of Australia,

We, the undersigned Catholics of Australia, write to you regarding our concerns for the Church. We ask that you consider these matters during the 2011 Ad Limina visit.

As Christs faithful, we must speak out. Under Canon Law we have a right and a duty in keeping with our knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to our pastors our views on matters which concern the good of the Church (C.212.2-3).

The Church no longer adequately inspires many of our communities. It has alienated too many adults who were born of Catholic parents, attended Catholic schools, and lived a sacramental life. It has become disconnected from, and irrelevant to the lives of too many of our children. With fewer priests, its ability to provide regular Eucharist in our parishes, especially in rural areas, has become increasingly limited. As an institution it does not yet embody the vision of Vatican II for a truly collegial Church in which decisions respect local cultures, communities and circumstances. Rather, it appears as an institution focussed on centralism, legalism and control, with few effective structures for listening and dialogue, and often more concerned with its institutional image and interests than the spirit of Christ.

Our Church has been tainted by injustice and blemished by bad decisions. We still reel from the sexual abuse scandal where the Churchs initial response was manifestly inadequate and where some authorities, in their attempts to protect the institution, exposed innocent young people to grave harm. We were shocked at the lack of due process in the way Bishop Morris, a dedicated pastor, was removed from his diocese. We were dismayed by the failure to consult properly on the new English translations of our liturgy. We can no longer accept the patriarchal attitude towards women within our Church, and we fear that an extended claim to infallibility is stifling discussion on many important issues. These issues include some teachings on human sexuality, as well as new forms of ministry for women and married men; the latter an anomaly for a Church committed to equality, and which welcomes married ministers from other Christian traditions. These concerns undermine confidence and trust in you our leaders.

We want and pray for a renewed Church that follows Christ more closely in every way. We need a Church committed to authentic collegiality and subsidiarity. We seek an open, transparent and accountable Church, which respects due process, rejects every form of discrimination, listens to its people, promotes co-responsibility in every facet of its mission and ministry, and is compassionate to its core. We call for an outward-facing Church totally committed to justice, peace, ecumenism and dialogue with other faiths, and which advocates unequivocally for the rights of the oppressed and disadvantaged while tending practically to their needs. We need and want a Church where we are all one in Christ, with no more distinctions ...between male and female (Galatians, 3:28) and whose leaders read well the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel.

As a first step towards collegiality and subsidiarity, we call on each diocesan bishop to convene at an early date a synod in his diocese, under the provisions of Canon Law (C.460-468), to discuss how the local Church might be a more authentic witness in the 21st century. We also ask that Pope Benedict allow a return to a more accountable and consultative process for the appointment of bishops, giving both priests and people a real voice as was earlier Church practice. This could commence with the appointment of the next bishop of Toowoomba.

For all of us Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. As the People of God and your sisters and brothers in Christ, who together seek the Kingdom of God, we pray that the Spirit will guide us all ever closer to Jesus in the critical task of renewal.    END