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 Synod Initiative II:

Structures for Participation and Accountability 

Toward greater participation in decision making and responsibility for mission. If all the baptized are to share in the Church’s mission, then the structures of Church life and governance must be renewed, and some new structures established, to allow for the greatest degree of participation on the part of the greatest number of the baptized. Participation in the mission of the Church is rooted in Baptism, strengthened in Confirmation, and nurtured by regular celebration of the Eucharist. All receive gifts from the Spirit that call them to build the Church and advance the Reign of God.

For effectiveness in mission, Catholics must be convinced that they are truly the Church, that they are an integral part of its mission, structure, and governance. To accomplish this, the Church must evaluate and revitalize present structures and devise new ones to provide for increased participation, collaboration, and accountability in mission and ministry. This demands greater inclusion of the enormous diversity of peoples in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the many language and socioeconomic groups, the range of ethnic-cultural heritages, both male and female, the spectrum of age, the multiplicity of jobs and professions, persons with disabilities of various kinds, as well as the many who are marginalized in various ways in society and Church. All are called to be attentive to this rich diversity, to encourage active participation of all in the Church according to each one’s particular gifts and specific ecclesial calling, just as all are called to greater accountability.

Pastoral Priorities

The archbishop, regional bishops, and Archdiocesan leadership team are to guarantee the development of structures that provide for appropriate religious and lay participation in decision making and processes of accountability at Archdiocesan, regional, deanery, and parish levels.

Each regional bishop is to be given the authority, oversight, and resources (personnel and finances) to administer his pastoral region effectively. [Second Level Priority]

Pastoral Strategies

In view of the declining number of priests available to serve as pastors, a comprehensive study, including consultation with laity, regarding parish consolidation, clustering, the creation of new parishes, and staffing by combinations of clergy and lay ministers appropriate to each parish, is to be undertaken, and a plan developed and implemented.

A regional pastoral council is to be established in each region to address common goals, concerns, challenges, and the sharing of resources. 

Implementation Highlights

An Evaluation of Cardinal Roger M. Mahony as Archbishop of Los Angeles: Survey of Archdiocesan and Parish Leaders

In September 2003, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, contracted with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to conduct a survey of pastoral leaders and Synod delegates of the Archdiocese that would provide an evaluation of his ministry. This evaluative study was designed to assist Cardinal Mahony in the implementation of pastoral initiatives recently identified through the Archdiocesan Synod and in his planning priorities for the next eight years. You may download a pdf file of the report below:

An Evaluation of Cardinal Roger Mahony as Archbishop of Los Angeles, report by CARA, March 2004

Regional Pastoral Councils

In the Fall of 2003, a Charter for the Regional Pastoral Council was drawn up by an ad hoc committee appointed by Cardinal Mahony.

Clerical Abuse Crisis Accountability

In February 2004, Cardinal Mahony issued a comprehensive report on the extent of the clerical abuse crisis in the Archdicoese of Los Angeles from 1930 to 2003. 

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