The St. Joseph Foundation (SJF) and Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) have issued a joint position paper calling lay Catholics to take greater initiative to renew a Church in crisis. “If Catholics continue to wait for the hierarchy to solve the systemic problems plaguing the Church, they will continue to be disappointed,” CUF and SJF president Philip Gray warns. Gray is asking his fellow Catholics to 1) Pray, 2) Organize, 3) Influence, 4) Stay engaged, and 5) Evangelize to combat secularization and abuse of power within the Church “Justice demands that we work for the correction of these wrongs on all fronts.”
Since Theodore McCarrick made headlines this summer, new developments have surfaced regularly concerning cover up of sexual misconduct and mismanagement by members of the Catholic hierarchy. A canon lawyer with over 20 years of experience, Gray is all too aware that far more areas of Church mismanagement need to be addressed than the question of sexual misconduct alone. He cites the mishandling of everything from marriage annulments to finances as evidence of a rising tide of secularism within the Church. “In all things, we want to see our focus and our leadership return to Jesus Christ.”
The paper, available on both apostolates’ websites, and in hard copy by request, provides practical steps that Catholic laypeople can take to begin to exert positive pressure for change, including engaging in constructive dialogue, initiating canonical cases, if dialogue proves ineffective, even taking control of parish finances. “There are no quick fixes for internal renewal,” Gray says, “but there are several avenues open to the laity if we are sincere about wanting change.”
CUF and SJF President, Philip Gray, is available for comment. The paper, Response to Crisis in the Church, is available at cuf.org and stjosephcanonlaw.com.