Australian Reforming Catholics

Structure & History


The structure of Australian Reforming Catholics is determined by its overall intention to have an organisation without unnecessary hierarchy. We are an incorporated entity registered in NSW.

Membership is open to any individual who is interested in the reform of the Catholic Church. Existing members reside in all Australian States. Members pay a small annual fee to support the organisation’s activities and receive the quarterly newsletter Arcvoice  by post.

The leadership is exercised jointly by a Secretariat of ARC members, elected or reaffirmed by the ARC members at the Annual General Meeting.

Particular roles are carried out according to our objectives and organisational needs. The permanent roles are:

Spokesperson: Each Secretariat appoints a Spokesperson to represent ARC as an organisation and to the Mass Media. Currently the Spokesperson is John Buggy

Administrator: The administrator keeps member records, receives all subscriptions and donations, handles bookkeeping, and attends to our statutory obligations as an incorporated entity. The current administrator is Wendy Rowe.

Editor: Our quarterly Newsletter is Arcvoice. The editor selects and prepares the draft material in consultation with the Secretariat and produces the final copy. The current Editor is Margaret Knowlden.

The elected Secretariat attempts to reflect the standpoint of the majority of its members to both the Church and to the Media in highlighting the need for reform in the Catholic Church. It meets via Zoom as required, usually 8-10 times per year.


Communication to, consultation with, and feedback from members occurs in these ways:

Newsletter: The Arcvoice quarterly contains articles of interest, reports of activities, letters to the Editor, etc. The Secretariat takes responsibility for the overall content and members are invited to write or submit articles.

Website: This enables activities to be advertised, important documents to be displayed, and encourages new members to register.

E-Mail: Important information is given in between Newsletters, especially that which requires immediate attention or action.

Zoom Room: We have our own ongoing Zoom Room in which to hold video conferences, enabling members to converse effectively wherever they live. 

Survey: From time to time we conduct a survey to ensure that the Secretariat, and especially the Spokesperson, reflect the viewpoints of the majority of the members.

Mass Media: When appropriate, the Spokesperson will initiate contact with or respond to mass media on matters relating to the need for Church reform.


Since the Second Vatican Council, held in 1962 to 1965, enormous energy has been expended by Catholic people in attempting to reform the Church.  A lot was achieved initially, but progressively over several decades, reactionary forces within the predominantly male structures of the Church have inhibited true reform. In response to this situation, many reform groups have sprung up, particularly in Europe and the United States of America.

Several reform groups in Australia came together to produce a Charter in 1997 leading to the formation an organisation entitled ‘Australian Catholics For Reform’. For various reasons it was unable to function well and in the year 2000 Australian Reforming Catholics (ARC) was formed, under the leadership of Ms Barbara Campbell, Mr Ted Lambert, and Mr Jim Taverne, with a philosophy of inclusion and the intention of forming regional groups.

The new organisation did not develop to that stage but by 2004, following a couple of member conferences, ARC was able  to finalise a Declaration of its aims and objectives and establish an elected Secretariat to help enact that Declaration.

The Declaration arose from discussions that could be summarised under three broad headings:

  • hearing the voice of the faithful;
  • undoing the patriarchal accident of history;
  • love being the main way of relating – not the Law.

You can read the full declaration, which was published on pages 3-4 in Arcvoice No.14, by clicking HERE.