|How is the constitution reform progressing?Miriam Duignan (Wijngaards Institute) was in Rome in August to attend the international WOW (Women’s Ordination Worldwide) meeting. Whilst there she delivered our proposed new Constitution for the Church to the Synodal Office in the Vatican and reported that she was well received.|
John Wijngaards wrote in an article for La Croix – ‘The Synodal consultations hold the promise of meaningful reforms. In that context the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research has constructed a proposed Constitution for the Catholic Church. If accepted and implemented, it would thoroughly overhaul the way in which the Church operates.
The idea of creating a new Constitution for the Church is not new. Inspired by Vatican II, Pope Paul VI initiated in 1965 work on a Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis (“Fundamental Law of the Church”), a constitution which would have underpinned all canon law in the Catholic Church.But that effort ceased in 1981 when, predictably perhaps, traditionalist John Paul II decided to shelve the already finished constitution.The challenge was taken up again by the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church which published a Proposed Constitution for the Catholic Church in 1998.The new Proposed Constitution of the Wijngaards Institute drew from those two documents, but also from similar efforts in the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran World Federation.Importantly it also incorporated elements from secular sources such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, promulgated by the United Nations in 1948.’
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There is a thirst for change. This was highlighted by a recent international survey (ISCW) commissioned by the Catholic Women Speak network to prepare a submission to the Synod of Bishops as part of the Synod 2021-2023 . The first major finding of the ISCW is that even when women have considerable struggles with Catholic institutions and structures, many continued to practise their faith and to engage with their parishes and Catholic communities, despite their difficulties with the institutional Church.A second major finding is that most would welcome reform in the Catholic Church, especially but not exclusively regarding the role and representation of women. Other issues included church teachings on sexuality, women’s leadership roles in church institutions and worship, including for some the ordination of women to the priesthood and/or diaconate, and remarriage after civil divorce. A third major finding is that respondents identified the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse of women, children, and other vulnerable people as a dominant issue.
A final major finding is that Catholic women are deeply concerned about transparency and accountability in church leadership and governance. A substantial majority of respondents identified clericalism as having a negative impact on church life. There was also a high level of agreement that a less hierarchal and authoritarian model of Church was urgently needed, with greater collaboration and sharing of responsibility and authority between clergy and laity.
For the full article on the survey:
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