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HEALOURCHURCH.ORG REPORT ON THE SATURDAY, FEB. 18, 2023, COMMUNITY FORUM

I. INTRODUCTION. As promised, we are getting back to you regarding the very successful community forum attended by nearly 200 people on February 18 at St. Joseph’s parish. The entire forum video is available online at healourchurch.org. There was a visible and very enthusiastic energy for change from the attendees, both in person and online. It was palpable that attendees want their voices heard now and not through a synodal process continuing for some uncertain time with unknown results. Concerns were not only expressed regarding the lack of transparency regarding the ongoing clergy abuse issue but also the clear and obvious need for independent lay involvement in governance, especially for women. Further, strong views were conveyed about the need for outreach to marginalized groups, especially the LGBTQ community. Below is a compilation of the concerns and recommendations from the attendees. They are not listed in their order of importance but do include a summary of the written and ‘chat’ responses from the attendees. Whether you agree with all or part of the list, it represents the heartfelt sentiments of persons who care about their Church. Although obviously a comprehensive list of concerns, Heal Our Church is preparing an action plan to prioritize and implement these recommendations to the extent our resources permit and will be in further contact with you. As many of you know, the Archbishop of Seattle has rejected our requests for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and, for practical purposes, ignored our outreach for dialogue. It is not an exaggeration to note that most of the attendees to the forum were adamant in their belief that the Church, that had been a place of nurture for them in the past, is sadly out of touch with them and/or their families and friends. BUT WE NEED YOUR INPUT AND SUPPORT. Please let us know your thoughts, willingness to volunteer and ability to support us financially at contact@healourchurch.org. Thank you. https://www.healourchurch.org 1 contact@healourchurch.org

Steering Committee Terrence Carroll Mary Cruise Mary Dispenza Clark Kimerer Colleen Kinerk Tim Law Tom Lucas John McKay Nick O’Connell Barbara Ruzzo Michael Sullivan Heal Our Church “It Is Right and Just” II. SUMMARY OF CONCERNS AND RECOMMENDATIONS BY FORUM ATTENDEES

  1. CHURCH GOVERNANCE:

    • Broken.

    • Corruption of the Gospel Vision.

    • Loss of the Vatican II vision.

    • Clericalism.

    • Unilateral Decision making.

    • Hierarchical control through power, dogma, exclusion.

    • Lack of respect for the laity.

    • Chronic refusal to listen to the Laity on key substantive issues.

    • Military structure of the clergy silences and disempowers “good “priests.

    • Domination of the US Catholic Church by conservatives.

    • The active participation of the Church leadership in political matters and in furtherance of a conservative social agenda.


  1. LAY EMPOWERMENT :

    • The only way forward.

    • Laity must be treated as equal partners in governance.

    • How to define and implement true sharing of power.

    • Outreach to and alliances with those left out or left behind by Church leadership, locally, nationally , and ultimately , globally.


  1. SEX ABUSE CRISIS:

    • The Scandal has never been appropriately or effectively acknowledged or dealt with by Church Leadership.

    • The laity have been left in the dark and excluded from any role in effectuating reform and reconciliation .

    • Church Leaders still in deep denial.

    • We have lost 1-2 generations of Catholics who have left in disgust and righteous anger about the abuse and the cover-ups.

    • The same attitudes and structures are in place that gave rise to the sex abuse scandal.

    • The convening of a lay led Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be a significant step toward reconciliation and healing. https://www.healourchurch.org 2 contact@healourchurch.org



Steering Committee Terrence Carroll Mary Cruise Mary Dispenza Clark Kimerer Colleen Kinerk Tim Law Tom Lucas John McKay Nick O’Connell Barbara Ruzzo Michael Sullivan Heal Our Church “It Is Right and Just”

  1. THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

    • Institutionalized sexism is the norm.

    • Women and girls are not viewed as equals even as members of the laity.

    • Acute and long overdue need to open up the deaconate to women, and the priesthood to women and to married persons.

    • Expand the role of women and girls in the leadership and liturgy of the Church.


  1. EXCLUSION/MARGINALIZATION OF WHOLE GROUPS OF PERSONS WHO ARE CHILDREN OF GOD There are many who seek to be fully respected and included members of the laity and who hunger for reform:

    • LBGTQ plus.

    • Divorced Catholics.

    • Members of racial and ethnic minorities .

    • Catholics in rural communities, especially low-income .

    • Catholics who openly espouse progressive views that threaten or challenge the status quo.


  1. WHAT STEPS CAN BE TAKEN NOW BY THE LAITY IN THIS ARCHDIOCESE TO ADDRESS THE KEY CONCERNS IDENTIFIED AT THE HOC SUMMIT:

    • Convene a laity led TRC.

    • Demand immediate and full transparency and accountability from the Archbishop/Chancery, including independently selected lay persons to share authority in matters of governance.

    • Demand meaningful lay consultation in the selection of pastors and bishops.

    • Demand active and meaningful role for the laity in any decision relating to the closure/consolidation of parish churches or schools.

    • Demand the inclusion/acceptance of women, divorced persons and openly LGBTQ+ persons who want to become Deacons.

    • Continue to advocate by all means possible for a Priesthood open to women and married persons.


https://www.healourchurch.org 3 contact@healourchurch.org

Steering Committee Terrence Carroll Mary Cruise Mary Dispenza Clark Kimerer Colleen Kinerk Tim Law Tom Lucas John McKay Nick O’Connell Barbara Ruzzo Michael Sullivan Heal Our Church “It Is Right and Just”

  • Develop alliances with faith communities within the Archdiocese including minority communities, the LGBTQ plus community; youth and young adult groups both active and fallen away.

  • Consider making only direct, and targeted contributions to the Church, e.g., one’s local Parish or School, Fulcrum (tuition assistance), Catholic Community Services, or organizations like Saint Vincent de Paul.

  • Picket the Chancery and/or the Archbishop’s residence for recognition of steps that need to be taken.

  • Write to the Chancery, the Archbishop or to one’s local Pastor about these issues and request that specific action be taken and that the letter/email be forwarded to the Chancery with a request for a response.

  • Host HOC Summits in other locations in the Archdiocese (and Spokane and Yakima.)

  • Encourage others to join and support HOC with time/talent and money.

  • Seek out more coverage in the public and social media.

  • Consider if and how HOC might reach out to theologically/socially conservative Catholics who want reform but who may disagree with some of the positions taken by HOC. Expand HOC’s reach and funding. G. THE ROLE OF HOC

  • Many people in this Archdiocese consider HOC the only active, organized group of Catholics seeking reform and reconciliation.

  • HOC offers much needed hope and lay leadership.

  • The most common refrain in the paper work: “Get off your knees and roll up your sleeves!” JOIN US IN THIS EFFORT!!! WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR INPUT AT THE FORUM. PLEASE CONTACT US AT contact@healourchurch.org WITH YOUR COMMENTS.

https://www.healourchurch.org 4 contact@healourchurch.org

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