International Church Reform network

priest and reform-movements working together

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Welcome to the International Church Reform Network website.
As an International network of reform groups we build alliances
as we confront issues of injustice within the Catholic Church.
We learn, reflect, and take action together.

ICRN Supports Sister X in India and Full Inclusion in the Synodal Process

1 February 2022   For Immediate Release

Contacts: 

Deborah Rose,           USA                 +1 513.673.1401         debrose@futurechurch.org

Martha Heizer,           Austria             +43.650.4168500        martha@heizer.at

Virginia Saldanha,     India               +91 98196 26197        womynvs@gmail.com

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 against the acquittal of Bishop Franko Mulakkal on multiple rape charges of Sister X. ICRN calls on Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferao, president of Conference of Catholic Bishops of India to meet with Sister X and investigate the behaviour of Bishop Mulakkal.

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 and East 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 sign that the clergy wants to keep their power.  Yet, the German Synodal Path may be a good possibility for addressing the important reform issues with clergy and laity working together.

The abuse of power and clerical sex abuse and cover up in many countries has led to a lack of trust in the monarchical hierarchical structures. Yet, many Catholic Reform groups are actively involved in preparing submissions and encouraging participation in the 2023 Synod process. The reservation of all power and authority to clerics, the treatment of women, LGBTQ+, divorced and remarried are critical issues that need to be changed.

There were many voices who favoured giving less time and energy to seeking reforms through the hierarchy and instead devote most of their time and energy to focus on developing a New Way of Being Church by creating Small Christian Communities (SCC), Base Ecclesial Communities (BEC), and grassroots 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.

 

Warsaw in 2019

From September 22nd to 27th, 2019 we met for the fifth ICRN conference near Warsaw, Poland. The purpose of the conference was “To explore and discuss the topics most alive in the church today and discuss how to model the emerging church of the future.”  Due to the nature of network the conference was for representatives of organizations or multipliers in their national churches.

Press-statement from the Warsaw conference 

More ressources from the conference will be published as soon as they are available.