The People Speak Out

Local voices connecting globally

This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.  (Pope Francis)

Canon Law 212 calls upon the laity to speak up:

2 - The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. - According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

If you could sit down with Pope Francis and share with him the faith and life experiences of you and your family, what would you say? You actually do have a way to share these experiences. Join us as The People Speak Out.  This is a global feedback process inviting you to share your stories and offering Pope Francis an opportunity to encounter you and learn about your Catholic experience. Through your voices, he and his bishops will gain a better understanding of contemporary life.

Speaking of the 2014 Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Francis said: “This important meeting will involve all the People of God – bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful of the particular Churches of the entire world – all of whom are actively participating in preparations for the meeting through practical suggestions and the crucial support of prayer. Such support on your part, dear families, is especially significant and more necessary than ever. This Synodal Assembly is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church".

Whether an active Catholic or one who has drifted away, whether a priest, religious, or lay, the baptized faithful “have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful.” [Canon law 212:3]

We can be silent no longer!  Pope Francis wants us all to be involved for the good of the Church.  In sharing your story and commenting on those of others you help our church leadership identify the key issues that need to be addresses.  

We have developed a way for you to do this through a non-partisan instrument welcoming all – conservative, liberal, practicing and non-practicing Catholics – to tell their stories.  The People Speak Out is comprised of topics of concern to families based on several global surveys conducted over the past two years.  Through these surveys you have let it be known the topics that most concern you, all of which have been summarized in our Jubilee Year of Mercy paper.  These   areas, identified by Catholics worldwide, are of vital concern to Pope Francis’s meeting with the world’s bishops. This meeting on the pastoral needs of families takes place in Rome this October, progressing toward the  opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning on December 8, 2015.

So, we invite each of you to open your heart and share your stories – your parables – in an unfiltered, unedited, and undirected process with Francis and our bishops.  You can also comment on the stories of others, but please do so with generosity and love.

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Together, we can truly collaborate with the Synod of Bishops by responding to Pope Francis’s call and encouraging our bishops to formulate the principles that unite and serve us to transform the Roman Catholic Church into one that is welcoming to all, inviting to the wounded and downtrodden, and nurturing to all in need of healing.

While you are invited to share your stories, blog posts containing personal attacks (e.g. harassment, defamation, or other offensive content) may be reviewed and not posted.  If you do not see your post on the blog, it may not yet have been reviewed. On this site, we are inviting people to share their innermost heart and very personal stories about their blessings and struggles with the Roman Catholic Church. We urge all who participate on this site to be respectful.


It is now widely recognized throughout the Catholic Church, especially in western countries, that there is a severe contraction in availability of and access to the celebration of the Eucharist, “the Source and Summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, 11). You may know of particular circumstances where the Eucharist is not regularly available, and where particular solutions are evident if the bishops would take advantage of Francis’s willingness to act. Perhaps your solution is optional celibacy for priests, ordaining women, supporting Basic Christian Communities, addressing an unjust caste system, or any number of other situations. We welcome your suggestions here. Our intent is to have this discussion reach Pope Francis and the Bishops who will be attending the Synod.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks about Moral Conscience.

1776 "Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths."

1777 Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.

1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. "He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters." 

Down the ages men have been perceived to be the sole recipients and transmitters of divine messages. Women on the other hand, have been socialized by patriarchal religious structures and practices to passively accept religious teachings as interpreted by men.

These androcentric and patriarchal interpretations have defined and shaped the social and cultural contexts of women resulting in their disempowerment and second class status.  

The key of women’s involvement with religion is hidden in women’s bodies. Women in fundamental ways are locked in their bodies, and their exercise of power is at the pleasure of men, whether in the family or in the religious sphere. Thus, religion is not just about spirituality, beliefs and practices alone, but it is also political. These political practices however, belong to structures of the mind that are not inviolable. They can be broken by recovering the spiritual and humane. It is on this recovery that women’s survival and unfolding as humans hangs. (Extract from Statement of National Consultation, Hyderabad, 2016)

What is your experience of the Roman Catholic Church’s treatment of women?