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FutureChurch Joins Call for "Catholic Culture of Conversation"

The following statement was developed this spring by fourteen U.S Catholic Leaders (listed below) who pledged to meet regularly to promote a "Catholic Culture of Conversation."

“Along with millions of our fellow Catholics across the United States, we are troubled, saddened, and angered by the sexual abuse and “cover-ups” that have devastated so many innocent lives. It is easy - too easy, in fact - simply to point the finger at certain individuals. It is difficult - but essential - to understand how and why these patterns could become so widespread in our Church. It seems to us that the lack of a culture of constructive conversation in the Church today is one of the main reasons.

We have come together on March 5 and May 14 (and will meet again on July 15) to explore the dimensions of the current crisis more deeply. But we are also asking how we might help to build that culture of conversation, to foster a spirit of collaborative dialogue among all the members of the Church. We are convinced that, until and unless we become an open, transparent, publicly accountable Church, we shall not be healed any time soon. Nor shall our voices be heard and respected in the important moral debates of our time.

We have undertaken these meetings in the awareness of our privilege and responsibility to contribute whatever we can. The Second Vatican Council summoned us to this task; see the Constitution on the Church, 37, and the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 44, among other places. We do not have all the answers, by any means. But we must ask the questions. We owe nothing less to our God, to our fellow Catholics and Christians, and to all people of good will.”


Rev. Mark Brummel, Editor - U.S. Catholic
Fr. James Coriden - Washington Theological Union
Dan Daley, Co-Director - Call To Action
Sr. Karen Donahue, RSM for Sr. Helen Marie Burns, RSM, Vice President - Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Irene Dymkar, Executive Director - National Association of Lay Ministry
Sr. Mary Christine Fellerhoff, CSA - General Superior, Sisters of St. Agnes
Anthony Nicotera, University Ministry - DePaul University
Jon Nilson, President-Elect - Catholic Theological Society of America
Claire Noonan, Next Generation Organizer - Call To Action
Sr. Christine Schenk, CSJ, Executive Director - FutureChurch
Sr. Carole Shinnick, SSND, Executive Director - Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Rev. Robert Silva, President - National Federation of Priests' Councils
Sr. Nancy Sylvester, IHM, President - Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
John Wright, Secretary - We Believe!

*note: organizational names listed for identification purposes only


Summer 2002



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