Dear Very Holy Father,
Following the massive disclosures of a large number of scandals of the Church concerning the sexual abuse of minors by priests, you have addressed a letter to God’s People, in which you condemn clericalism as one of the causes of this evil and you have appealed to the baptized persons to help you resolve the problem.
We want to respond to your appeal.
We firmly support all your initiatives and try to implement what you recommend. Previously, the Conference of Baptized Persons (CCBF) had widely circulated and commented your previous documents on the following subjects, Evangelii Gaudium, your address on the last council in 2015 and your Letter to Cardinal Ouellet in 2016, in all of which you already mentioned the‘Mobilization of the Baptized’ in the life of the Church, the need to practice ‘audacity’, the need to ‘turn the pyramid upside down’ and the ‘primacy of the common priesthood of the faithful’.
Today, the credibility of our Church is, not only dented, but in shreds. And with the loss of confidence, the barque of the Church is sinking, priests and laypersons, we are all losing credibility in announcing the Gospel.
It is our duty as the Conference of Baptized Persons to let you know our convictions, opinions, and suggestions for our Church, as Canon Law (212. §3) urges us to do. This duty is merely the consequence of the « sense of faith » which encourages the faithful and which you have the responsibility to express in the name of all of us.
This is why we appeal wholeheartedly for the convocation of a « Council of God’s People ». Must not all the people listen to the Spirit, so as to understand « the joys and hopes, the sadness and anguish of the men and women of this time » (Gaudium et Spes, §1)? Must not all the people contribute to redefine the basis of a Church attentive to the appeals of the Lord? By listening to all the people cannot the destroyed confidence be restored?
To reunite on an equal basis representatives of God’s People, men and women, laypersons and clerics, would be the sign of your will for a profound renewal in the Church and would permit it to revitalize confidence in its members. It would be a moment of truth to offer to our Church the conditions for a true rebirth and define a new future shared by the whole of the present and future believers.
I ask you to believe, very Holy Father, in my deepest respect.
In the name of the CCBF, Anne Soupa, President
Translated from French by Hugo Castelli