Call to Action is an organization that developed from the work of the original 1976 Call to Action
Conference and is not formally connected to the hierarchical church but counts among its over 25,000
members 1,250 priests, 6,250 religious, and at least 6 bishops. Among the nearly 17,000 laypersons who
belong, 95% indicate that they regularly attend Mass. The current platform of CTA (written in 1990) does
not differ significantly from the recommendations of the 1976 conference:
National CTA Platform Return to About Us
- We appeal to the institutional church to reform and renew its structures. We also
appeal to the people of God to witness to the Spirit who lives within us and to
seek ways to serve the vision of God in human society.
- We call upon church officials to incorporate women at all levels of ministry and
- We call upon the church to discard the medieval discipline of mandatory priestly
celibacy and to open the priesthood to women and married men, so that the
Eucharist may continue to be the center of the spiritual life of all Catholics.
- We call for extensive consultation with the Catholic people in developing church
teaching on human sexuality.
- We claim our responsibility as committed laity, religious and clergy to participate in
the selection of our local bishops, a time-honored tradition in the church.
- We call for open dialogue, academic freedom, and due process.
- We call upon the church to become a model of financial openness on all levels,
including the Vatican.
- We call for a fundamental change so that young people will see and hear God
living in and through the church as a participatory community of believers who
practice what they preach.
This platform certainly reflects progressive Catholicism and many more traditional Catholics would
probably be uncomfortable with some portions of it (note, however, that there is no “pro-choice” position
in any of these statements). This platform is not “heretical,” “anti-Catholic,” or “demonic,” even though it
does, in the time-honored tradition of the prophets of old, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, and even
Jesus Himself, challenge the status quo. In many instances what the platform calls for is a return to
practices of the Early Church. For example, in the first thousand years of the Church it was the practice
that the faithful of a diocese play a major role in selecting their bishop, even electing him (as St.
Augustine was); in the Early Church there were women who were deacons and women who presided
over local communities; and until the twelfth century there was no mandatory celibacy for priests and
even today there are some married priests in the Roman rite and a married clergy is the norm in the
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