Catholics whose lives and faith have been challenged by the Vatican’s current teachings on contraception, homosexuality and access to communion for the divorced and remarried are being urged to share their experiences.
The John Wijngaards Catholic Research Centre’s new website, http://www.johnwijngaards.org/, is providing an independent platform for Catholics to record their testimonies and contribute their views on morality and their faith.
Information and the personal stories of people affected by the Vatican’s attitudes to issues of sexuality, sexual practices and divorce, will be made available to Church representatives ahead of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops focusing on the family in October 2014.
The aim of the Synod of Bishops has been described as addressing the serious challenges of the social and spiritual crisis in today’s world. The Bishops have set a deadline of December 6 for canvassing views on many of the key issues including sexuality, contraception and access to communion.
Leading campaigners for modernising Church attitudes to these hot topics believe that the short research deadline is arbitrary and will stifle debate.
John Wijngaards, a Catholic Scholar, author and director of an international faith formation centre charity, is heading the JW Catholic Research Centre team.
He said: “These are key issues affecting and blighting so many people’s lives. Their voices need to be heard and given the proper attention they deserve.
“Setting a deadline of December 6 is inadequate and wholly unnecessary if the Church and its Bishops are really serious about addressing these fundamental topics.
“Our new website is offering an independent platform for Catholics to tell the Bishops the effect on real lives of Church teachings on sex and morality.
“These teachings are based on a misguided interpretation of natural law which was nurtured by medieval theologians. They are flawed and should have no place in a 21st century Catholic Church.
“This is a rare opportunity for us all to work towards reforming the Church’s position on morality which is currently alienating millions of Catholics and causing untold guilt, misery and confusion.”
Miriam Duignan, an active campaigner for Church reform and a member of the JW Catholic Research Centre team, said: "These are important issues for us all. But they are particularly significant for younger Catholics many of whom find themselves very much at odds with current Church teachings and have great difficulty in reconciling their faith with the Vatican's attitudes to contraception and homosexuality."