Active Reform Now: A Catholic Bill of Rights


All genuine reform must be solidly based on realistic expectations.

ARCC – The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church — is setting up a network of active reformers across the country. Their goal is to protect and defend the rights of Catholics in the church and their action is grounded in a Catholic bill of rights. They do not replace other reform movements. They support and provide substantial grounding for all reform movements. Their focus however is uniquely based on CATHOLIC RIGHTS. For more information and to join ARCC:

http://arcc-catholic-rights.net/

Basic Catholic Rights

 

No. 1. All Catholics have the right to follow their informed consciences in all matters. (C. 748.1)

No. 2. Officers of the Church have the right to teach on matters both of private and public morality only after wide consultation with the faithful prior to the formulation of the teaching.4 (C. 212, C. 747, C. 749, C. 752, C. 774.1)

No. 3. All Catholics have the right to engage in any activity which does not infringe on the rights of others, e.g., they have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of association. (C. 212:2,3, C. 215, C. 223:1)

No. 4. All Catholics have the right of access to all information possessed by Church authorities concerning the former’s spiritual and temporal welfare, provided such access does not infringe on the rights of others. (C. 218, C. 221:1,2,3, C. 223:1, C. 537)

Decision-making and Dissent

No. 5. All Catholics have the right to a voice in all decisions that affect them, including the choosing of their leaders. (C. 212:3)

No. 6. All Catholics have the right to have their leaders accountable to them. (C. 492, C. 1287.2)

No. 7. All Catholics have the right to form voluntary associations to pursue Catholic aims including the right to worship together; such associations have the right to decide on their own rules of governance. (C. 215, C. 299, C. 300, C. 305, C. 309)

No. 8. All Catholics have the right to express publicly their dissent in regard to decisions made by Church authorities. (C. 212:3, C. 218, C. 753)

Due Process

No. 9. All Catholics have the right to be dealt with according to commonly accepted norms of fair administrative and judicial procedures without undue delay. (C. 221:1,2,3, C. 223, 1,2)

No. 10. All Catholics have the right to redress of grievances through regular procedures of law. (C. 221:1,2,3, C. 223:1,2)

No. 11. All Catholics have the right not to have their good reputations impugned or their privacy violated. (C. 220)

Ministries and Spirituality

No. 12. All Catholics have the right to receive from the Church those ministries which are needed for the living of a fully Christian life, including:

 a) Instruction in the Catholic tradition and the presentation of moral teaching in a way that promotes the helpfulness and relevance of Christian values to contemporary life. (C.229:1,2)

 b) Worship which reflects the joys and concerns of the gathered community and instructs and inspires it. c) Pastoral counseling that applies with love and effectiveness the Christian heritage to persons in particular situations. (C. 213, C. 217)

No. 13. All Catholics have the right, while being mindful of Gospel norms, to follow whatever paths will enhance their life in Christ (i.e., their self-realization as unique human beings created by God). They also have the right to guidance that will foster authentic human living both on a personal level and in relation to their communities and the world. (C. 213)

No. 14. All Catholics have the right to follow the customs and laws of the rite of their choice and to worship accordingly. (C. 214)

No. 15. All Catholics, regardless of race, age, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, state-of-life, or social position have the right to receive all the sacraments for which they are adequately prepared. (C. 213, C. 843:1)

No. 16. All Catholics, regardless of canonical status (lay or clerical), sex or sexual orientation, have the right to exercise all ministries in the Church for which they are adequately prepared, according to the needs and with the approval of the community. (C. 225:1, C. 274:1, C. 1024)

No. 17. All Catholics have the right to have Church office- holders foster a sense of community. (C. 369, C. 515)

No. 18. Office-holders in the Church have the right to proper training and fair financial support for the exercise of their offices, as well as the requisite respect and liberty needed for the proper exercise thereof. (C. 231:2, C. 281)

No. 19. All Catholics have the right to expect all office- holders in the Church to be properly trained and to continue their education throughout their term of office. (C. 217, C. 231:1, C. 232, C. 279, C. 819)

No. 20. Catholic teachers of theology have a right to responsible academic freedom. The acceptability of their teaching is to be judged in dialogue with their peers, keeping in mind the legitimacy of responsible dissent and pluralism of belief. (C. 212:1, C. 218, C. 750, C. 752, C. 754, C. 279:1, C. 810, C. 812)

Social and Cultural Rights

No. 21. All Catholics have the right to freedom in political matters. (C. 227)

No. 22. All Catholics have the right to follow their informed consciences in working for justice and peace in the world. (C. 225:2)

No. 23. All employees of the Church have the right to decent working conditions and just wages. They also have the right not to have their employment terminated without due process. (C. 231:2)

No. 24. All Catholics have the right to exercise their artistic and cultural talents without interference (e.g., censorship) from Church authorities; likewise all Catholics have the right freely to enjoy the fruits of the arts and culture.

States of Life

No. 25. All Catholics have the right to choose their state in life; this includes the right to marry and the right to embrace celibacy.

No. 26. All Catholic women have an equal right with men to the resources and the exercise of all the powers of the Church.

No. 27. All Catholics have the right to expect that the resources of the Church be fairly expended on their behalf without prejudice to race, age, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, state-of-life, or social position. a) All Catholic parents have the right to expect, where needed, fair material and other assistance from Church authorities in the religious education of their children. b) All single Catholics have the right to expect that the resources of the Church be fairly expended on their behalf.

No. 28. All married Catholics have the right to determine in conscience the size of their families and the appropriate methods of family planning.

No. 29. All Catholic parents have the right to see to the education of their children in all areas of life. (C. 226:2)

No. 30. All married Catholics have the right to withdraw from a marriage which has irretrievably broken down. All such Catholics retain the radical right to remarry.

No. 31. All Catholics who are divorced and remarried and who are in conscience reconciled to the Church have the right to the same ministries, including all sacraments, as do other Catholics.

Language

No. 32. All Catholics have the right to expect that Church documents and materials will avoid sexist language, and that symbols and imagery of God will not be exclusively masculine.

2 thoughts on “Active Reform Now: A Catholic Bill of Rights

  1. “All genuine reform must be solidly based on realistic expectations.”

    With respect, you must be kidding. We’re talking about the Roman Catholic Church. Historically, reform has never come from within nor has it been based on expectations.

    It has been the result of heresy, the 16th century reformation, the revolt of some bishops in the 19th century and Archbp. Lefebvre in the 20th century.

    If reality is your criteria, you should really expect the Vatican and the curia to ignore, marginalize, or excommunicate you.

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