The Root and Branch group met in Sarum College the weekend of 5-7 August 2022
Pamela Perry gives an overview of how the group began and what they hope to achieve.
“A Synod that starts with women but doesn’t end there”.
In 2019, Mary Ring and I as members of the Catholic Women’s Ordination (CWO) invited parishioners at St Osmund’s Roman Catholic Church in Salisbury to discuss how they would wish the Catholic Church to develop.
We found that they were concerned about ordination in general. Why not married men? Why not women and those who are LBTQ plus? Shouldn’t priests and bishops be selected by parishioners who know them? Is clericalism strangling the Church and enabling abuse?
With CWO friends we planned a virtual, year-long, countrywide discussion leading to a physical and virtual, lay-led Synod earthed in Bristol. It would start with the question of women’s priestly vocations but would not end there because many Catholics are concerned about more than one issue. We chose Root and Branch as the name of our Synod because we believe that our Church needs root and branch reform.
We met online to expand the Synod to include Catholics overseas with clergy of several denominations, religious, activists and academics contributing. We connected with reform groups and small ecclesial communities across the world. More than five thousand people viewed Mary McAleese’s keynote speech on Human Rights and Canon Law in the first week alone.
Root and Branch is now an international, online ‘home’ for people who desire reform and a safe, just, and inclusive Catholic Church. Everyone is welcome. No subject is off the table and the survivors of abuse are among our friends.
Our Foundation document, the result of the year’s Synodal consultation, is the Bristol Text — a starting point for a new beginning. Based on Jesus’s instruction to ‘love your neighbour’ it explores the principles of equality, human rights and co-responsibility in relation to the Catholic Church.
Relying upon donations we provide information via online talks and resources to enable the Catholic laity to discover and develop a voice. The Core Team of volunteers have been at Sarum College strengthening their bonds and planning Root and Branch’s strategy for the next two years.
Visit the Root and Branch website
If you wish to contact Root and Branch, email email@example.com