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Teacher, writer, NGO volunteer, former business director, convert to Catholicism 80s, UK

I increasingly notice the fear in the eyes of people in the Catholic church.

I was 23 when I converted to Catholicism. I had been inspired by the dedication to the homeless of the French priest, Abbé Pierre. I saw God in his eyes.

I was used to saying what I thought on matters of justice and equal opportunity and the dominating masculinity of the church, but my fellow Catholic church-goers preferred to keep their heads down so as not to upset ‘Father.’ And ‘Father’ kept his head down for fear of upsetting them.

When I helped start Root & Branch in January 2020 using Zoom during the pandemic we were able to offer a much needed online forum where Catholics across the world could say what they liked without fear.

When we sent our early ideas for reform to an Oxford theologian and religious he said that because we’d mentioned ordination for women (amongst other things) he couldn’t even give his views anonymously for fear of stepping out of line with his bishop.

And when I paid a personal visit to a bishop he agreed that the only future for the church was dialogue (on all topics), but he admitted that bishops too were afraid. [192]

Freedom of speech towards a safe, just, inclusive church is what R&B is about.