October 09, 2005

A plan to empower lay Catholics

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Kristin E. Holmes
Inquirer Staff Writer

Richard K. Taylor calls his plan a form of "tough love" for a family member that you cherish.

In this case, the family member is the Roman Catholic Church and the plan is a way to help parishioners have more influence over its affairs. At present, many lay Catholics serve on parish and diocese boards, but in a strictly advisory role. Church law mandates that final decision-making authority rests with the clergy alone.

Taylor's "Love in Action: A Direct Action Handbook for Catholics Using Gospel Nonviolence to Reform and Renew the Church" is a guide for Catholics who want to spur the church to more "accountability and transparency." It harks back to the 1960s, when Taylor marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Taylor intends the 12-point action plan to equip independent groups such as Voice of the Faithful, a 30,000-member lay organization to which Taylor belongs. The guide will likely be used by the organization as it finalizes its goals following a national convention held last July, said Bud Bretschneider, Voice of the Faithful chairman for Greater Philadelphia.

Taylor, 72, has been working on the handbook since January and it is now available in manuscript, coincidentally at a time when the Philadelphia grand jury has issued its report on clergy abuse and cover-ups in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He believes that the stunning revelations will propel Catholics into action.

Posted by kshaw at October 9, 2005 09:01 AM