An initiative of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion to be coordinated
with Roman Catholic reform groups
A Declaration of the Faithful:
What We Catholic Parents Teach & What We Learn From Our Families
In this Declaration we make clear and affirm the necessity of the co-equal role of the faithful in forming Catholic Church teachings. We note that the second session of the Vatican Synod on the Family will convene in October 2015 and that contributions have been asked from all levels of the Church: bishops, priests, and all the faithful who identify with the Catholic faith tradition and who are looking to bring reconciliation to the entire Church. In this contribution we draw on scripture, tradition, and, in particular, the lived experience of the faithful; we believe when the inputs below are fully deliberated, reconciliation can follow on the disputed issues.
I. The role of the faithful in determining Catholic Church teachings:
History and tradition show that the Holy Spirit gives moral and theological insight as much to the faithful as to bishops and popes. For example: when the Canaanite woman revealed to Jesus the fullness of his ministry [Mat. 15: 21-29]; when St. Paul reprimanded St. Peter prior to the First Council of Jerusalem; when in the fourth century the witness of the faithful enabled the Councils of Nicaea I and Constantinople II to come to the correct definition of the Holy Trinity; when St. Catherine of Sienna admonished Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome; when Martin Luther advocated Mass in local languages; when lay Catholics helped the Church recognize that not all lending of money for interest [usury] was sinful; when Galileo published the discovery that the Earth orbits the Sun despite threats of torture to force him to remain silent; and when Catholics fought in the American Civil War for the freedom of slaves at the same time that official Roman Catholic Church teachings accepted slavery. Until rectified, some of these “teachings” caused enormous and unnecessary suffering.
Click for complete text
Letter to the Editor of the National Catholic Reporter,
From the Coadjutor Bishops of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion
+ Peter Hickman, Presiding Bishop of the ECC
+ Francis Krebs, Coadjutor Presiding Bishop of the ECC
And from the members of the ECC's Strategic Initiatives Committee
As Catholics whose fore-bearers [the "Old Catholics"] withdrew from the jurisdiction of the papacy in 1870 over the issues of conscience and infallibility, we have an unbroken line of apostolic succession and believe our Declaration of the Faithful &[attachment 2] can make a strong contribution to the discussions of the Synod on the Family this coming October. If adopted by the synod, the recommendations of the Declaration can help Church leaders reconcile on the moral issues that currently divide Catholics.
We formed the ECC in 2003 and have established over 30 ecumenical Catholic communities here in the U.S. and in Western Europe [see our website: www.ecumenical-catholic-communion.org]. We are also in conversation with other independent Catholic groups - some of whom will unite with us.
A significant number of married Catholic priests have joined us and we have ordained a number of women, including Mary Ramerman of Spiritus Christi in Rochester, NY. Most of our bishops and priests are married or are in committed relationships; many have children; some are divorced and remarried. To be ordained our priests and bishop must be chosen by their communities [as was the original tradition of the Church] as well as have requisite theological training. What is crucial in forming our theology on families is that our ECC's leaders share the same life experiences and challenges as do our laity.
Click for complete text