Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A New 'Referendum' Catholic Group Wants Vatican to Loosen Rules on Birth Control, Divorce

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A New 'Referendum' Catholic Group Wants Vatican to Loosen Rules on Birth Control, Divorce

Article excerpt

A group of American Catholics is calling for a Third Vatican Council.

This Sunday, when Christians celebrate the feast of the Holy Spirit called Pentecost, the group's organizers will begin asking Catholics to sign a petition to be sent to the Vatican. It calls for opening discussion on birth control, more lay decision-making, communion for remarried-divorced Catholics, a married priesthood which includes women and other issues.

Organizers call it the Catholic "referendum."

"At Pentecost we talk about speaking in tongues," said the group's national coordinator Sister Maureen Fiedler, who has spoken here frequently at Nerinx Hall High School and Webster University. "These calls for reform began in the German language. They continue in French, Dutch, Italian and English, and now, on Pentecost, in American English."

Fiedler is a member of congregation of the Sisters of Loretto. Last January members of her congregation here voted for their Loretto Women's Network to lead the national referendum group. More than 25 other groups are helping Fiedler.

The campaign began last June in Innsbruck, Austria. A group called Wir Sind Kirche, which means "We Are Church," was concerned that some of its bishops were unresponsive to directions of the Second Vatican Council. In three weeks, more than 500,000 of Austria's 8 million citizens signed.

The U.S. organization, We Are Church Coalition, wants to collect a million signatures by next year's Pentecost.

Those who sign the referendum are endorsing:

Lay participation in the selection of pastors and bishops.

Church hierarchy to give more attention to issues of peace and non-violence, social justice and preservation of the environment.

Reconsideration of contraception and an affirmation of the goodness of sexuality.

Discussion of communion for divorced persons who have remarried.

Strengthening teaching of the primacy of conscience in moral decision-making.

Human rights of all persons regardless of sexual orientation. …

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