We envision a Church that follows “the way of Jesus.” It is one which places itself in service to all, lives out a message of love, justice, and peace, and is a truly synodal church wherein the faithful have a place at the table and a voice in governing and in ministries. We are the People of God on a pilgrim journey with equality, inclusiveness, and mutuality as an integral part of our community. The hierarchical structure of the Church must be integrated with the sensus fidelium.
Jesus taught that to have life we must do two things: love God and love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:35-40). This is our primary calling as Christians: to love one another, to stand in solidarity with the poor, the less fortunate, immigrants seeking refuge from tyranny, and the like. Yet, this is not a message often heard from the pulpit. Rarely do we hear homilies that loving a neighbor means confronting oppression, racism, inequality, or poverty, and working to alleviate these burdens. Rarely do we hear about how this great commandment of love translates to a commandment of bringing about the kingdom in real life by ending social ills that starve and subjugate brothers and sisters.
The Catholic Church works for justice through many organizations, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services among them, in addition to the multitude of programs and services supported and sustained within dioceses throughout the world. Since the late 1800’s, popes have written encyclicals on workers’ rights, civil rights, immigration, climate change, etc. Catholic writers also address justice issues. Catholic sisters are on the front lines as strong advocates and role models. But many priests avoid promoting social justice actions fearful of disturbing some of their wealthy parishioners.
Development/Updating of Doctrines
- Update and develop doctrines/teachings/theology/liturgy in light of contemporary scripture scholarship and theology (i.e., original sin; at-one-ment not atonement) and in light of today’s scientific knowledge (i.e., cosmology; human biology) will be promoted. The doctrine of original sin will be re-framed as a doctrine of original blessing. Doctrinal teaching will always consider the effect of that belief on people’s lives.
- Update the church's moral theology/sexual ethics with consideration of the latest science regarding sexuality
- The Clergy will have ongoing education regarding new theological insights underpinning church doctrine.
- Promote openness and acknowledge past sins and mistakes (i.e. sexual abuses and the subsequent cover-ups) with appropriate humble liturgies.
Interview with Joseph Healey in the “Anchor” Program (Catholic Church Reform Int'l -- CCRI Podcast Episode No. 6). 19 September, 2019. 29:05 minutes. Father Joe Healey, MM explains the growth of Small
Communities of Young People (YPSCCs). Often the starting point is not the Bible or faith but their present life experiences. We need to tap into young people’s hunger for community and their passion for social justice issues like climate justice, gun control
and diversity. A vast number of young people are moving away from the Institutional Church and finding that the best expression of their values and their Christianity is much more through social justice, climate justice, environmental issues, immersion programs, demonstrations (marches, protests, etc.) and other advocacy outreaches.. They want to share their experiences in some kind of small community setting. The future of the Catholic Church for today's Millennials and Generation Z may well include some model of Young People Small Christian Communities (YPSCCs). Available on:
Does this question shock you? It should! Over the last couple of years I have been in regular correspondence with Rev Dr Valson Thampu. After retiring as Principal of the prestigious St Stephen’s College, Delhi, he is now settled in Kerala.
But he is terribly unsettled by recent events in what was once described as “God’s Own Country” and the cradle of Christianity in India. Many like him are appalled at the mounting cases of paedophilia, rape, murder, financial misappropriation etc being levelled (and in some instances proved) against priests, bishops and even a cardinal. So he has concluded that the Christian community, not necessarily restricted to Kerala, is in dire need of shock therapy, to shake it out of its complacency and stupor. What is rubbing salt into the wounds are the desperate attempts to shield, play down, obfuscate or interminably delay the path of justice against the accused; and to label the dissenters as “terrorists”. The ultra-chauvinistic Catholic Church in Kerala seems to be beating Modi at his own game of ultra-nationalism.