News / Europe

Liberal Catholics Urge Pope for Reforms as Consultations Start

Pope Francis arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, Sept. 25, 2013.
Pope Francis arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, Sept. 25, 2013.
Reuters
Liberal Catholics have asked to meet Pope Francis to add their views to talks next week on changes in the Church, hoping the conciliatory tone he has brought to the papacy will allow more open decision making.

More than 100 groups of reform-minded Roman Catholics sent the appeal in an open letter to the pope and the eight cardinals he has chosen to help him govern the worldwide Church and reform its troubled bureaucracy, the Curia.

Francis holds his first talks with the advisory board of cardinals next week. It is not yet clear how their talks in Rome on Oct. 1-3 will be organized or whether their policy suggestions will be made public.

“Our fondest hope is that Pope Francis will accept a delegation of our leaders at the Vatican,” said Rene Reid of the Catholic Church Reform group, one of the letter's signatories.

“He has been reaching out to atheists, gays and others. He wants dialogue. We want that too,” she said in a statement.

The groups come from around the globe, mostly the English-speaking world, but also from Germany, Austria, France, Poland, Spain and India.

The letter lists reforms that Francis - elected pope in March with a clear mandate for change - might consider and others he has already ruled out. In a wide-ranging interview last week, he showed he wanted to change many Church procedures but not traditional doctrines.

The letter urges Francis, who has said the Church needs more decentralized decision-making, to give local clergy and lay people a say in electing their own bishops, rather than reserving that privilege to Rome alone.

Mismanagement by bishops, especially in covering up for sexually abusive priests, has been a main source of discontent as child abuse scandals rocked the 1.2-billion strong Church over the past decade.

The letter also appeals for divorced and remarried Catholics to be allowed to receive the Eucharist, a reform that Francis has said should be studied, and asks that dissenting theologians disciplined by Rome be rehabilitated.

Turning point

The groups also call for women priests, although Francis ruled that out in July.

He has been more open to discuss the possibility of married priests, another proposal in the letter, but Catholic experts say that any such reform would take a long time.

The groups also said homosexual Catholics should have “full participation in the life of the Church and its service.”

The Church considers homosexual sex a sin. Gays are not supposed to be accepted to become priests and the Church does not perform same-sex marriages.

The letter expresses full support for Francis and his “new style of leadership, less that of a monarch, more as a simple servant-bishop.”

“Many around the world - Catholics and non-Catholics alike - hope that your election will mark a turning point in the history of the Church,” it says.

The eight cardinals come from Italy, Chile, India, Germany, Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States, Australia, and Honduras, indicating Francis intends to heed calls by bishops from around the world to have more say in Vatican decisions.

High on their list will be ideas to reform the Curia, whose last major overhaul was carried out by Pope Paul VI in 1967.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid