May 21, 2014

Dear Bishops, dear Representatives of the Families,

Pope Francis has invited the whole Church to take an active part in the synodal process. Through our submission, you will see that we have taken his call seri-ously. We are in full support of the Synod which has garnered so much attention with its focus on the needs of families.

Many of us have felt that our Church has abandoned us pastorally. It is increas-ingly difficult to find a nourishing, local faith community. Families find it difficult to balance their values of love, inclusion and respect for others with the Church’s stern, punitive and exclusionary behavior.

The image of the Church in the minds of our children has become distorted by the cases of abuse and by treatment of women, of those divorced and remarried, and even of religious sisters. Perceiving this as harsh and merciless and out of harmony with the love the Church is supposed to preach is driving our young people away. The only means for the Church to bring them back is with compas-sion that inspires trust and confidence.

The collected thoughts and recommendations that we present to you here offer an approach for the Church that will accomplish this goal. We have prepared this report to serve as agenda topics for Regional Gatherings of the faithful during the next four months.

We are pleased to share our report with you at this stage since we believe that it represents the views of a great many Catholics throughout the world. Following our Regional Gatherings, we will prepare a final summarized report and will de-liver it to you by the end of September in time for its consideration at the Synod.

We thank God for the gift of the Synod. We pray for the guidance of the Spirit and that the members of the Synod will arrive at the right decisions for the sake of our whole Church.

Praying for the presence of the Spirit as we all prepare for our Synod,

Rene Reid

Catholic Church Reform International

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