Catholics for Change in Our Church marks first anniversary of PA Grand Jury Report on Child Sexual Abuse by Church Clergy with call to action

Catholics for Change in Our Church (CCOC), an independent organization of over 1000 Catholics working toward change and affirmation of the laity’s role in the Church, today released Working Together Toward Our Future Church: CCOC Statement on the First Anniversary of the Release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church.

The statement provides a historical perspective on the crisis occurring in the American Catholic Church, progress in the past year with laity organizing for change, and a call for constructive reform.

“We felt it was important on this first anniversary that the voice of the laity be heard, in addition to the bishop and clergy, and of course the victims and their families,” said Kevin Hayes, CCOC chairperson. “With over 1000 members, we know we speak for many, maybe even the majority, of the Catholics who are still active in the Church in Pittsburgh. Most of those who have decided to stay in the Church want change, and they want it soon.”

In September 2018, 200 committed, hurting and outraged Catholics met and formed Catholics for Change in Our Church (CCOC). Today the group numbers over 1000.

The CCOC Statement recommends changes to move the Church forward, including independent and lay oversight of diocesan financial and other functions; strengthening parish pastoral and finance councils; surveying the laity on the role of women in ministry and church governance; and promoting co-responsibility of the laity through appropriate parish and diocesan roles.

“We are the Church. Together. The clergy, the laity, and the central diocesan administration,” said Gretchen Jezerc, Co-coordinator of the CCOC Pathways to Lay Leadership Focus Group. “The change that’s needed will only happen if the laity both demand it and help do the work to get it done.”