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Reform group calls for more collaboration, accountability

The Catholic Church needs to be broaden those empowered to make decisions if it is to regain its legitimacy amongst ordinary Australians, according to a statement released by Australian Reforming Catholics (ARC) after its recent conference in Sydney.

Online Catholics reports today that ARC, the group banned from Church land by Cardinal Pell in September, met last weekend for their national conference under the title, "Conversations Around Jesus Christ Our Friend". They came to a number of broad conclusions as a result of their discussions.

It points out that because of the diminishing sense of belonging to, and identification with, the Catholic Church by large numbers of the faithful, more Australian Catholics have left the pews in the last five years than any other denomination.

In its statement, the group says, "If the Church is the 'People of God' (so defined at the Second Vatican Council in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) then the People should "own" it. A cursory glance at the present structures, traditional as they are, suggests that a male group identifying themselves with "Church" owns the People," the statement says. Such a view alienates people from Church membership.

ARC believes that the hierarchy must take action to enable formal sharing of responsibility with the laity. The participants considered that "in an era when people are mostly literate, even in religious and theological spheres, and communication is instant around the world, people should no longer be passive listeners. There is a growing appreciation of the truth that the Holy Spirit informs and instructs all of the People, not only a male hierarchy, and there must be a ground shift to give effect to these developments."

ARC calls for more collaboration, accountability (Online Catholics 27/10/04)

Catholics call for greater accountability (text of statement)
Pell directs lay group off church property (CathNews 15/9/04)
Pell bans Lay group from Catholic land (Online Catholics 15/9/04)
Australian Reforming Catholics
International Movement We Are Church
Archdiocese of Sydney

27 Oct 2004