If there was ever a question whether our year-long effort building up to our Forum in Rome was worth it, it has been answered loudly and clearly. Our Recommendations for the Synod, our worldwide Regional Gatherings, our four Surveys, and finally our Forum in Rome has been valuable beyond our greatest hope. The Reform Movement as a whole has made news around the world as you can see on the center column of our home page. Today, Janet’s blog is being quoted in a Hong Kong online news site.
What lies ahead for the Reform Movement:
We had coffee yesterday with Tom Reese and had a conversation with John Allen and Bob Mickens discussing the process of the Synod. What they all tell us confirms much of what we already know: Pope Francis is not a top-down kind of leader. He challenges the Bishops to work collegially first with their people and then collaborate with each other and come to him with proposals for change which he can ultimately bless or not. With a few exceptions, the bishops as a whole don’t seem to understand that yet or lack the skill to carry it out. Most are still trying to conduct themselves and this Synod in their old, familiar ways. Francis is doing his best to thwart that behavior.
These three journalists all agree that nothing concrete is going to happen here at this Synod. Our work as part of the reform movement will be between the close of this Synod and the beginning of the 2015 Synod.
The most valuable action step, they tell us, is for reformers to unite together to speak loudly and clearly with one strong voice to our Bishops around the world, namely, that we must make every effort to influence the Bishops who will in turn influence the Synod outcome and give Pope Francis the means for making transformative change in the Church.
Last Sunday, after our event in St. Peter’s Square (and what an event it was!), many reform representatives all went to lunch together - essentially, the group you see in the picture on our home page plus more. Among others, the group included Martha Heizer (WAC Austria), Deb Rose-Milavec (Future Church), Miriam Duignan (Women Priests, UK), Paul Collins and Marilyn Hatton (ACCCR and Catholics for Ministry, Australia), Christian Weisner (WAC, Germany), Susanne Birke (Switzerland), and three of us (John Buggy, Janet Hauter, and me). Over lunch, there was a silent partner in a serious discussion that followed. Providentially, the Holy Spirit guided the conversation toward unity among reformers leading to the same conclusion as Reese, Allen, and Mickens. Marilyn offered to take the first step in documenting the conversation around the table.
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