Guiding Document for Upcoming Synod Simply Old Hat

Written By Call To Action


June 26, 2014

Guiding Document for Upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family Simply Old Hat

When Catholics heard last year that the leaders of their Church were seeking feedback on the topic of ministry to the family, they responded enthusiastically, sharing their experiences, insights and desires. Catholics believed it was a new moment in which leadership would listen and honor their voices, experiences and wisdom.

Unfortunately, this morning’s report prepared for the extraordinary Synod of Bishops to be held in October comes as a major disappointment.

The report’s blame of Catholics for not understanding Church teachings is simply old hat. Recycling the same approach and arguments we’ve heard before, the report rejects Catholics’ desire for a more relevant, practical, and inclusive church. The irrelevance of the Church’s teaching on contraception, or the lack of pastoral welcome for divorced and remarried Catholics, for example, were repeated themes in responses to the survey.

“The wisdom of the laity should be celebrated, not patronized,” says Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director. “The future of our Church will depend on leadership listening to, respecting, and honoring the experiences of the faithful.”

This entrenchment and re-articulation of the status quo continues to leave thousands of Catholics behind, dismisses the dignity of our entire Catholic family, and fails to move our church forward in a spirit of welcome and compassion.

While today’s report is a disappointment, today’s Catholics are not. They do get it: they understand perfectly well the call to love rooted in the Gospel. Catholic parishes, schools and communities across the country will continue to live with love, welcoming our brothers and sisters who’ve struggled through divorce, remarried with love, stood proudly as LGBT persons or used contraception when creating their family.

Champions of a faith they love, Catholics remain hopeful that discussion, dialogue and prayer leading up to the 2015 Synod will move Bishops to a place of pastoral leadership.

For Immediate Release: June 26, 2014

Contact: Ryan Hoffmann, Director of Communications,773.404.0004 ext. 


  • Jeanne Panella says:

    I applaud your optimism. Unfortunately I don’t share it. The hierarchy is so far out of touch with real life and the needs of women, I have given up all hope of any substantial changes.

  • k says:

    Deflated. Dejected. How do you keep hope alive?

  • Jonathan says:

    The Catholic faith is a revealed religion from God not a result of what human beings contrive.

  • Judith Davis says:

    I couldn’t ask for a more accurate response to the bishops’ working paper. When I read the NCR article online this morning, I just shook my head. An historian once said of the French royalty before the Revolution that they “learned nothing and forgot nothing.” The same can be said of our hierarchy. How sad.
    This also puts one in mind of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and repeating failed activities while expecting success.

  • Joe says:

    So glad. It’s all true. The average Catholic has no idea of the beauty, depth, charity, and overall goodness of the Chruch’s teaching on marriage and marital intimacy.

    No idea. And it’s our fault. We haven’t learned it or shared it…blaming everything lazily “on Father so and so”.

  • MF says:

    When will you guys at Call to Action GET IT? The Church is not here to accommodate itself to the whims of the culture. It’s here to call the culture to the Truth. To hold up the Truth, to be faithful to the Truth. Truth is Truth despite how much of the culture rails against it.

  • Tom Field says:

    This is an excellent statement. Very much worth reading and thinking about. Thanks for sending it.

  • Jimmy says:

    If the Church’s teaching is irrelevant to you then why complain and protest so much? If you can’t trust the Church on moral issues then why believe any teaching? Just start your own church, and you can do whatever and teach whatever you want. If you are willing to risk the consequence of ignoring the Church’s authority to teach on matters of Faith and morals then it doesn’t really matter if you ignore one or ALL her teachings. As far as being inclusive well, polls show most Catholic believe acts of mortal sin are no issue. So why attempt to get the Church to change? Either start your own church or ignore Church teaching like the majority do and accept the consequence upon death of ignoring the Church Jesus left to guide and safeguard the Truth. But the fact that you want the Church to affirm your sin by changing tells that deep down you know you are wrong. Jesus said “go and sin no more”. The Church doesn’t need to change. Sinners need to change.

    • Ellen Euclide says:

      The Church is made up of humans, and it is up to us (the people!) to keep working to build a better Church, just as Catholics have done since the beginning of time!

  • Don says:

    Eek!, Call to Action screams, Pope Francisis Catholic!

  • Mike Malone says:

    CTA has been excommunicated right?? How is it then that you claim legitimacy to comment on Catholic activities?

  • Andrew Szebenyi says:

    It is not functional to live in a static world. Circumstances do change, and sometimes they change quite fast. The denial to respond to present needs with present knowledge as recommended by Vatican II is dysfunctional, which results in loss of credibility, and that damages faith. We need a new and functional moral theology, and a reform of the Vatican. Paul VI should not have withdrawn the three issues to be considered by the council: priestly celibacy, contraception, and reform of the Vatican.

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