Our Call as disciples is to be:
- A Catholic Church that reflects Jesus’ message of love, justice, equality, peace and forgiveness;
- A Catholic Church in which all people are directed by their consciences and assume their responsibility for the mission of the Church;
- A Catholic Church which inspires its people to recapture an experience of the mystical and the spiritual;
- A Catholic Church where God-given authority is used wisely and justly to propagate the teachings of Christ and respects the role of the People of God;
- A Catholic Church where all people, single and partnered, minister in a spirit of co-responsibility for the Church;
- A Catholic Church that influences Australasian society to be ever more just, compassionate and egalitarian.
The full text of ACCCR’s OUR CALL, PRINCIPLES AND AIMS
MEET OUR MEMBERS
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We are a group of women and men who have adopted the name ‘Be the Change’ as that is what we aspire to, committed to gender equity in the Catholic Church.
Inspired by the Women’s Ordination Movement internationally, we want to become a supportive group for women in New Zealand called to particular ministries currently denied women, or which women find difficult to access, including priesthood, the diaconate, mediating the sacraments, giving homilies etc.
While woman priesthood was the issue we originally gathered around, we are still discerning what this might mean, or how this might happen. We want to continue nurturing the formation of our community, build relationships, and mission our vision, all the while being open to how the Spirit may move among us.
We are motivated by a sense of responsibility to Be the Change. In a safe, supportive, nourishing, hope-filled space we are journeying towards a radical new, inclusive model of RC Church that reflects God’s wondrous wholeness and faithfulness to the Gospel message.
Most of us are also connected to other groups of organisations that seek change or work towards a new vision of church in one way or another. These include the St Paul’s Rongopai Eucharistic Community (an Auckland based community of more than 3 decades history), Tui Motu Independent Catholic Magazine, Sophia women (a loose movement that functions in various ways throughout the country), and various spiritual groups, including ecumenical groups and more progressive religious communities.
Our core policy in Corporate Governance by Episcopacy has been:
Organisation should be based on the core teachings of Christ in the gospels, the epistles of genuine Pauline origin, the Acts of Apostles, Vatican 1 Constitution, Papal document on the Apostleship of Laity, and Pope Francis edict that local churches should adapt to their own situations dictated by pastoral need not doctrine.
So the gospel of inclusion embraced their preferential option for the poor in current times where they embrace the equality of all people as defined in Paul as the mystical body of Christ where all members have role to play as a royal priesthood.
We follow our core roles in welfare as defined in Matthew for the hungry, homeless, naked, grieving and prisoners in the broadest meanings of each of those terms as the world has evolved.
These works come out of the prime two love commandments and the Sermon on the Mount which set the value ideals laid out in the Beatitudes and the maximum obedience to spirit of each law not just the legal letter minimums of each rule.
St Stephen’s model of governance which made each leader fully accountable to the community for the decisions they took was the antithesis to the Roman Empire model imposed by Constantine which replaced Christ’s values of inclusion, equality and solidarity with the contemporary legal and cultural values of a hierarchical society. This Roman model ruled by hierarchy, coercion, economic exploitation and force, rather than dialogue and consent for the common good of society and each individual without discrimination which Jesus explicitly and implicitly opposed.
Catholics Moving Forward is based in the Shoalhaven area of NSW
OUR MISSION STATEMENT: “As followers of Christ in the Catholic tradition, we seek to build the Kingdom by reading the signs of the times in the light of Vatican II. We seek to live out this vision in small Christian Communities, which focus on life and experience, through study, reflection, prayer, dialogue and action.”
OUR STORY: Communities of the Way began in 2008 as a group of around 20 people who had all been involved in a program called “Back to Galilee”, presented in the diocese by Fr Paschal Kearney. This program challenged participants to commit to a new way of being Church, centred around the development of small Christian Communities which would enliven the parish and lead to a more collaborative structures and processes. We named our group “Aggiornamento” in recognition of the vision of Vatican II which inspired us to work towards building an “up to date” way of being Church.
Over the years we have run seminars and workshops to engage others in this movement towards establishing this vision, and many Small Christian Communities have grown out of it. What has evolved is the establishment of groups of lay people, sharing their life and faith together, not necessarily members of the same worshipping community, but committed to transforming the Church from the grassroots upward. We have also held educational seminars
to challenge and encourage people to consider the way forward for the Church in challenging times. We decided to change our name to Communities of the Way to make our aim a little clearer, but with the inspiration of Vatican II still firmly in our minds.
For the past two years we have also been involved in aspects of the Plenary Council, preparing submissions, organizing groups to make submissions and much discussion around the process of the Council and the future of the Australian Church. Sadly, the group has lost some of our most valuable members to death in recent years. We have spent many meetings embroiled in discussions about the state of the Church and our frustration with the slowness of real change, but continue to hope that all things are possible, in we work together faithfully.
Concerned Catholics Canberra-Goulburn Inc. was created in April 2017. We are a group of lay Catholics in the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn concerned about governance, cultural and structural issues arising from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. We seek an effective voice for lay people in the future direction and administration of the church in Australia, and operate at local, archdiocesan and national level. We are governed by a committee of about fifteen, with John Warhurst (chair), Margaret OÇonnor (secretary), Kevin Vassarotti (treasurer) and Judith Tokley and Mark Metherell (communications).
We host a website, operate a twitter account, and issue regular newsletters to our mailing list (anyone can sign up online). Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have held numerous public forums and made several submissions to the Plenary Council 2020 (see our website). We engage with our local Archdiocesan Administration and advocate locally for a diverse and open church media, financial accountability, women in church decision-making and a diocesan pastoral council. We also have many writers in oúr group, who contribute to the Canberra Times, Pearls and Irritations, Eureka Street and The Swag.
We also issue regular media releases, most recently urging a timely release of The Light from the Southern Cross.
Our current interests include linking with other groups, playing an active role in ACCCR, planning for a public Zoom meeting on the six PC Discernment Papers recently released, and other future public meetings, and engaging with our own Archbishop, Christopher Prowse, church administrators and parish representatives on local issues. John Warhurst has been chosen as a PC Delegate by the CG archdiocese and we want to see the PC process through to the very end by keeping church leaders on their toes.
A group of around 60 Tasmanian Catholics met in Launceston on the 7th December 2019 to hear the Chair of Concerned Catholics Canberra/Goulburn (CCCG), Emeritus Professor John Warhurst, speak about the Vision, Mission and Aims of CCCG. The organisation takes its mandate from the Church’s call in Church Canon Law for the ‘Christian faithful’ to exercise the ‘right’ and ‘duty’ they have to make known to their pastors their views on matters that impinge on the ‘good of the Church’.
As a result of this meeting the resolution was taken to explore the possibility of initiating ‘Concerned Catholics Tasmania’ (CCT), with a similar Vision, Mission and Aim, but with a distinctly Tasmanian ‘flavour’. From around sixty people who attended, a Steering Committee was formed.
The Steering Committee, chaired by Kim Chen, has refined the purpose and potential structure of CCT. As a group we are committed to collaborating with our Archbishop, our priests and the ‘faithful’ in working towards important renewal and reforms for the ‘good of the Church’. We are empowered by the spirit of ‘synodality’ that Pope Francis and the 2020 Plenary Council are promoting. We are committed to finding a voice for the laity, sharing our commitment to our Baptismal call and to our Church, in this time and in our state of Tasmania.
The development of a Vision and Mission Statement for Concerned Catholics Tasmania was informed by the work of CCCG, relevant Church documents, and our knowledge of our Tasmanian community.
Some other current areas of attention for CCT are:
• an upcoming meeting of three committee members with Archbishop Porteous (via Zoom);
• consideration of the six Discernment Papers developed from the Plenary Council consultations;
• discussion around The Light from The Southern Cross report on governance and commentaries;
• affiliation with the Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR).
Concerned Catholics Tasmania was officially incorporated on 26th May 2020 with an initial official membership of 18. There are nearly 150 members on the mailing list who, along with others, are now being invited to apply for membership.
CCWWD started in October 2019 with a packed meeting in Wagga Wagga with wonderful encouragement and support from CCCG. This was followed by successful meetings in Albury and Leeton with speakers from our management team. An email address and a website were quickly established and about three hundred plus respondents have registered to receive current updates and developments as well as topical articles on our church reform agenda. The organisation is based on the Gospels, is prayerful, is nonaggressive and seeks our church to be transparent, accountable, inclusive and show acceptable standards of good governance.
CCWWD members are frustrated with the silence of the bishops and their failure to acknowledge or address our questions or submissions. Wagga Wagga has been without a bishop for the past four years until the appointment of bishop elect Mark Edwards was announced in late May. CCWWD has welcomed the new bishop and looks forward to having discussions with him about reform issues and governance.
CCWWD values its membership of the Australian Coalition of Catholic Church Reform (ACCCR) seeing it as a catalyst in forming a joint national approach with submissions to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Plenary Council Committee. On a united front, we pray that the bishops will listen to us and take on board the details of our many suggestions on resurrecting our dying church.
– Kerry Carmichael, Chair
CCWollongong’s activity will be based on:
• Sexual Abuse in Church and responses
• Acceptance of the Gay Community
• Women – involvement and being part of the decision making of the Church
• Plenary 2020
• Married Priests
We will be using the book “Getting Back on Mission”, produced by Catholics for Renewal Inc., and the papers produced for the Coalition Renewal Forum planned for April for discussions. Some of the avenues that CCWollongong would look to explore include:
• prayerful and practical support towards our committed clergy
• support towards those who have suffered sexual or other abuse from the church, or otherwise been hurt by the church
• collaborative working towards a reform agenda in the Wollongong Diocese more broadly
• new models of church and more effective lay participation
• effective vehicles for the participation of women in key decision-making
• establishment of a diocesan pastoral council with a view to establishing lay leadership, and
• agreement for a work plan, based on mutual partnership with our bishop, lay people, and our committed priests and religious to achieve a reform agenda.
ACCCR has recently released a communiqué to the Catholic bishops and religious leaders of Australia (and open to all the People of God) calling for sweeping changes in the Church, including greater transparency and accountability, and equal participation for women.
Recognition of the damage and division caused by clericalism in our church is a call from many contemporary Catholics in Australia. These are some of the ‘ground floor’ issues that could be of great interest to Concerned Catholics of Wollongong. (CCWollongong)
History. The Cyber Christian Community (CCC) was initiated in 2006. The catalyst for the group was the scandalous ousting of a retiring parish priest who had long fostered Small Christian Communities, and the marginalising and demonising of liberal-minded socialjustice oriented Catholics. The cyber community initially provided a platform to the weekly writings of the retiring priest but soon evolved to include news of socially progressive views and practices.
Focus. The aim is CCC is to inform members of contemporary happenings, and encourage a relevant practice of contemplation and action, especially with regards human and environmental justice. (Our readers are now located in the US, UK, Ireland, NZ, Singapore and of course Australia.)
Charism. Our gift to Christianity in the Catholic tradition is to bring a contemporary understanding to the message of Jesus. This charism is coupled with resilience and perseverance. The CCC “team” knows that the future of Catholicism resides not in calcified institutionalism but in the journey of the desert and all that entails.
Rainbow Catholics InterAgency for Ministry (RCIA) is a coalition of LGBTQI affirming Catholic groups, organizations, pastoral leaders and organizers. We work together to support LGBTQI Catholics, their families, friends and colleagues around Australia. Members comprises both LGBTQI Catholics and non‐LGBTQI Catholics. The interagency promotes the values of the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching.
The purpose of the RCIA is to build partnerships and relationships, to pray, to educate and to advocate for the full equality and justice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer/Questioning (LGBTIQ) Catholics, their family and loved ones in the Catholic church and in our wider community.
We are moving towards the day where all LGBTIQ Catholics are loved as equal members of the Body of Christ of which LGBTIQ experiences, gifts and realities are honoured as part of the Catholic Christian tradition.
We aim to celebrate the gifts, the achievements and the journeys of LGBTIQ members of our Catholic community, affirming their Catholic Christian faith, sexual orientation, gender identity and diverse bodies We work to end all forms of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, queerphobia, intersex exclusion in our church and in our community and work to eliminate all forms of discrimination and prejudice against our LGBTIQ siblings.
We aim to learn from the lived experience and expertise of LGBTIQ Catholics and their allies, promote human rights and social justice and challenge structural, religious, social, physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, cultural and theological heterosexism and cisgenderism in bringing about peace with justice.
We aim to enable member groups and agencies to provide a safe space where resources are shared for the interest of LGBTIQ Catholics and their loved ones.
VOCAL is a small group ( about 20) located in New South Wales in three or four dioceses. We formed about 3 years on the suggestion of Peter Johnstone who was receiving interest from people in NSW. We mainly share information about issues of Faith and Church. We dialogue and have met a few times. We are interested in Church reform. Many ( not all) of us feel that our parishes are not sufficiently engaged in Church reform and other issues such as the letters of Pope Francis.
We are our own ” field hospital”. Our interest is broad.
WATAC Inc.(Women and the Australian Church)
WATAC commenced in 1984 as a national project of the Religious women and men of Australia.
While WATAC is Catholic by origin, it is ecumenical by membership and is committed to working with other churches and faiths.
The vision: to model new ways of being church, based on a “discipleship of equals”.
• Engages those searching and longing for an inclusive church
• Nourishes them in diverse ways
• Acts for justice in local and global issues
• Provides healing and hope
• Gives birth to a transformed church
• Gives a national forum where the voice of women can be heard on societal and church issues
Current Project is a series of conversations using Zoom “WATAC Presents”.
Self-funded through membership subscriptions and donations.
Given the clericalism, abuse, discrimination and lack of proper governance within the Catholic Church, in 2011 Fr Greg Reynolds, a priest of the Melbourne Archdiocese for 31 years, set up a new community, called Inclusive Catholics to embrace those disillusioned with institutional churches. In this community all are welcome without question, especially lapsed Catholics as well as survivors of clerical abuse, divorcees, those who support women’s ordination and LGBTIQA+ people. This community strives is a democratic organisation led by an elected Stewardship Team. In 2020 Greg felt the call to return to the official priesthood and has now stepped back from official connection with Inclusive Catholics.
Our members come from a variety of backgrounds, religious beliefs, age groups and denominations, especially Catholic. We generally aim to encourage people in their prayer life, meditation, scripture reading and social activism.
Inclusive Catholics holds fortnightly Eucharistic celebrations at Glen Iris Road Uniting Church Community Centre. We work with other reform groups in the Catholic Church in Australia and are an active member of the Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. We have a different approach to many other reform groups that seek to work from within the institutional Catholic Church. Instead we conduct our activities outside the control of the hierarchy while remaining true to our Christian heritage as church was in early Christian days. We are a model of a non-hierarchical church. We represent an alternative model of church reform where we create a model of church as it should be without waiting for official approval by the hierarchy.
We have a close affinity with St Mary’s in Exile in Brisbane.
Purpose: We aim to raise awareness of Women’s wisdom, experience and skills in the Australian Church and to increase the opportunities for Women to demonstrate these in the Church.
Who we are: We are a group of women with a background in either the Catholic or Anglican faith traditions who initially convened to discuss the reports of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, and the lack of active reaction from the Australian Catholic Bishops.
As well as commenting on that issue we are also considering the upcoming Plenary Council 2020 and have made submissions as well as joining with other members of the Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Renewal to make our voice heard in relation to the need for major change in the church.
Our main activity in 2019 was organising the visit to Australia of Sr Joan Chittister to conduct meetings and discussions on the topics of Church and personal renewal. This is planned to go ahead as soon as it is safe for her to travel to Australia.
Our major concern is the lack of acknowledgement of the wisdom, experience and skills of women in the Church by Church leaders and the consequent lack of opportunities for women in all but supportive roles in Church affairs.
Our other concerns include the lack of acknowledgement by Church leaders of the pain and suffering of the victims of sexual abuse by the members of the Churches, the need to change the underlying clericalism of the Catholic Church, and the inability of the Church leaders to consider the current priestly formation and its negative effects on the products.
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Each ACCCR member group has its own focus and history; all are united in the call for renewal in the Church.
The role of ACCCR, established in 2012, is to foster collaboration and support among its member groups
and to disseminate messages of hope and opportunity.
For further information, contact one of the co-chairs:
Dr Eleanor Flynn – email@example.com
Kevin Liston – Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org