Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
October 1, 2001
Reform groups decry centralization of power
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
CORNWALL, ONT. — Catholic reform groups in Canada want the upcoming Synod of Bishops to deal with "the excessive centralization of power in Rome" as well as the issue of ordained ministries.
In a statement released on the eve of the annual assembly of Canadian bishops in Cornwall Sept. 20-25, the groups invited bishop delegates to the synod to "take account of the urgency of the present confusion faced by Christian communities deprived of priests almost everywhere in the Western world."
"Today in Canada, as elsewhere, we continue to close churches more often than not because of the shortage of priests," said the groups.
"In many dioceses one increasingly finds the situation where one priest is responsible for two, three or even four parishes."
They said many small Christian communities feel "spiritually undernourished," and are staffed with elderly or ill priests when they are not completely abandoned.
"Nothing significant has been done to correct the situation which was foreseeable," the groups said. "It is as if one waited for some kind of green light from Rome. In fact, more than 20 years ago one knew what was coming."
The Ottawa Manifest Group, in collaboration with Reseau Culture et foi, Corpus Canada and Xristos Community Society, added, "Sensitivity to the signs of the times and awareness of the seriousness of the crisis requires the search for new methods."
Spokesperson Jack Trudeau of the Ottawa group, which initiated the statement signed by the others told CCN there are about 200-300 active members of the Catholic reform groups across Canada.
The groups are concerned with a variety of issues including the ordination of women, a married priesthood and de-centralization of Church authority, he said.
In 1995 the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the Church's teaching that women cannot be ordained priests "has been set forth infallibly" and "is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith."
The reform groups support the Synod of the People of God, an international movement of networks and groups such as the International Movement, We Are Church (IMWAC).
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