The International Catholic Reform Network (ICRN) with representatives from 5 continents, met on 28-29 January 2022 online.
Seven speakers from India spoke of the strong patriarchal structures in society and in church which impact adversely on the lives of women, LGBTQ+ and Dalits. ICRN supports the appeal of the acquittal of Bishop Franko Malukkal on multiple rape charges of Sister X. ICRN calls on Cardinal Gracias to meet with Sister X and investigate the behaviour of Bishop Malukkal.
Reports from all continents showed a mixed response to the synodal process leading to the Bishops Synod in 2023. In some regions, such as South Africa, it appears there is good co-operation from the bishops. In many other regions, the picture is more dismal. We heard disappointing reports from Australia where 17,500 submissions were effectively disregarded at the Plenary Council and from Mexico where the assembly in November 2021 had very few women and a clear. Yet, the German Synodal Path may be the best possibility for addressing the important reform issues with clergy and laity working together.
Many Catholic Reform groups are actively involved in preparing submissions and encouraging participation even though the experience over previous decades of clerical sex abuse cover ups in many countries has led to a lack of trust in the monarchical hierarchical structures. The reservation of all power and authority to clerics, the treatment of women, LGBTQ+, divorced and remarried are critical issues that need to be addressed.
There were many voices who favoured giving less time and energy to seeking reforms through the hierarchy and instead devote most time and energy to focus on developing a New Way of Being Church by creating Small Christian Communities for greater participation, communion & meaningful mission:
“Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there”.
ICRN Steering Committee:
ICRN Website: https://icrn.info/
Martha Heizer (Austria); Colm Holmes (Ireland); Rasto Kocan (Slovakia); Deborah Rose (USA); Virginia Saldanha (India); Max Stetter (Germany);
ICRN was founded in 2012 for the purpose of drawing together the best practices of communities around the world to bring about a Church that is welcoming and inclusive, reflecting and living the Gospel message so as to bring about the reign of God in our troubled world.