PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Call for a “Church 4 All” Ahead of Pope Francis’ Trip

Written By Call To Action

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September 17, 2015

For Immediate Release: September 17, 2015

Catholics Call for a “Church 4 All” Ahead of Pope Francis’ Trip 

When Pope Francis arrives in the United States, many will herald his call to care for the poor and the environment.  Others will hail his call for a pastoral, merciful church and his openness to dialogue – qualities too often in short supply among U.S. Church leaders.

A serious pastoral crisis exists in our Church. 

One-third of all adults who were raised Catholic have left the Church.  The most common reasons are disillusionment with the Church’s treatment of women and LGBT people; teachings on sexuality, relationships and gender; and the unwillingness of Church leaders to listen respectfully and dialogue with those with whom they disagree.

“This is a tragedy that needs the Pope’s attention,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke of DignityUSA.   “Too many people have been excluded from the Church because of who they are, whom they love, or what they believe.”

“In order for our Church to regain its vitality, we need to honestly discuss the lived realities of all Catholic families and take actions for justice,” said Sheila Peiffer of the American Catholic Council. “Until individuals and families who are marginalized are fully embraced, we have not fulfilled the Gospel call of justice.”

Parishioners in the Archdiocese of New York will have an opportunity to demonstrate how often Church leaders operate like corporate CEOs rather than pastors.  One of Pope Francis’ stops will be at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem where the Archdiocese closed the parish in 2007 amidst strong protests.

“I hope Pope Francis will have the opportunity to see how U.S. Bishops act to shutter parishes rather than pastorally and creatively keep vibrant parishes open,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec of FutureChurch. “The Pope has called on bishops conferences to open discussions on ordination. Will the bishops take it to heart once they have had the chance to meet him?”

Thousands of Catholics hope Pope Francis will inspire U.S. Bishops to move toward a more pastoral model of Church leadership.

“This trip is a great opportunity for Pope Francis to send a clear message to our Church, and especially to its U.S. leaders, about what the Gospel really calls us to in these times,” said Ryan Hoffmann of Call To Action.  “Catholics, young and old, have worked long and hard for years to create avenues for greater justice, love and respect in our Church.  We will be looking to Pope Francis to provide a model for pastoral care so desperately needed today.”

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Church-4-All is a coalition of reform organizations working to cultivate a Catholic church in which everyone is welcome, empowered, and valued. The coalition includes the American Catholic Council, Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, Call To Action, Catholics Speak Out, CORPUS, Ecumenical Catholic Communion, DignityUSA, FutureChurch, New Ways Ministry, RAPPORT, Roman Catholic Women Priests, Voice of the Faithful, Women Church Convergence, and the Women’s Ordination Conference. An entire resource toolkit can be accessed online at www.church-4-all.org

A Church 4 All – Contacts & Quotes from Campaign Leaders

“In order for our Church to regain its vitality, we need to honestly discuss the lived realities of all Catholic families and take actions for justice. Until individuals and families who are marginalized are fully embraced, we have not fulfilled the Gospel call of justice.”

Sheila Peiffer | American Catholic Council

Ph: 518.334.6076 | Email: sheilapeiffer.acc@gmail.com 

“This trip is a great opportunity for Pope Francis to send a clear message to our Church, and especially to its U.S. leaders, about what the Gospel really calls us to in these times. Catholics, young and old, have worked long and hard for years to create avenues for greater justice, love and respect in our Church. We will be looking to Pope Francis to embody a model for pastoral care so desperately needed today.”

Ryan Hoffmann | Call To Action

Ph: 574.675.6726 | Email: ryan@cta-usa.org  

“CORPUS, the National Association for an Inclusive Priesthood, affirms a church which is the People of God! The Second Vatican Council laid the basis for a church for all and we continue to proclaim and celebrate it.”

Linda Pinto | CORPUS

Ph: 570.618.2120 | Email: corpusreports@gmail.com

“One-third of all adults who were raised Catholic have left the Church. The most common reason is disillusionment with the Church’s formal leadership. In addition, too many people have been excluded from the Church because of who they are, whom they love, or what they believe. This is a tragedy that needs the Pope’s attention.”

Marianne Duddy-Burke | DignityUSA  

Ph: 617.669.7810 | Email: Execdir@dignityusa.org  

“I hope Pope Francis will have the opportunity to see how U.S. Bishops act to shutter parishes rather than pastorally and creatively keep vibrant parishes open. The Pope has called on bishops conferences to open discussions on ordination. Will the bishops take it to heart once they have had the chance to meet him?”

Deborah Rose-Milavec | FutureChurch, 

Ph: 513.673.1401 | Email: debrose@futurechurch.org  

“A Church for all would welcome and celebrate the gifts of all sexual and gender identities, so that everyone can benefit from the diverse spiritualities that God has placed in the souls of this planet’s people. Our Church will be richer when we listen to and accept the unique journeys that LGBT people and heterosexual people experience.  A Church for all would be, in the words of Pope Francis, a church of encounter where all would ask themselves: who am I to judge?”

Francis DeBernardo | New Ways Ministry

Ph: 240.432.2489 | Email: director@newwaysministry.org 

“To be the inclusive Church of Vatican II, we need a more participative community and a system of governance with decentralized power structures. Everyone should have a voice in their Church.”

Jeannine Gramick, SL | National Coalition of American Nuns

Ph: 301.864.3604 | Email: gramick@juno.com 

“In the face of one closed door after another, Catholic women have remained courageous and faithful to the church. Women’s leadership is integral to all aspects of church and society and unjust discrimination in our church will not be tolerated. It is long overdue that our church opens its door to the ordination of women.”

Erin Saiz Hanna | Women’s Ordination Conference

Ph: 401.588.0457 | ehanna@womensordination.org 

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