New lay organisation wants a voice in church affairs

A new lay organisation, Catholics For Change In Our Church (CCOC), is asking for a voice in church affairs.

The Diocese-wide group formed in Pittsburgh after last year’s grand jury report into Catholic Church sexual abuse in Pennsylvania.

“There was really no venue for people to share that outrage, that pain, that disappointment and lack of trust in the people who had been our leaders,” Paula Nettleship of CCOC says.

Now, with more than 1,000 members, they’re looking for a voice in church affairs.

“We are calling for a place at the table with the hierarchy,” Nettleship says.

“We are all partners in this together and that is the only way forward.”

The CCOC has identified five areas of action:

  • More help for sex-abuse survivors
  • Financial transparency
  • Addressing clericalism or the tendency of the clergy to be the supreme authority
  • More diverse clergy, including studying women becoming deacons and married men becoming priests
  • More lay oversight, including evaluations of David Zubik who is the bishop of Pittsburgh.

Zubik agreed to meet representatives of the group before writing a pastoral letter to the diocese outlining changes in the future.

CCOC representatives don’t think the letter on its own will be enough. Change is needed too, they say.

“A letter from you is not going to be enough to satisfy or to move us forward as a church,” Nettleship told Zubik.

“It’s going to take all of us.”

The CCOC hopes to attract representatives from every parish in the diocese.


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