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It's not a petition, strictly speaking. It's a statement of fidelity to the Catholic Church's historic teaching on sex and marriage. Originally signed by nearly five hundred English priests in March, it's now being circulated in the United States at and is available for priests to sign. Here's the statement:

Following the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2014 much confusion has arisen concerning Catholic moral teaching. In this situation we wish, as Catholic priests, to re-state our unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia.

We commit ourselves anew to the task of presenting this teaching in all its fullness, while reaching out with the Lord’s compassion to those struggling to respond to the demands and challenges of the Gospel in an increasingly secular society. Furthermore we affirm the importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments, and the millennial conviction that doctrine and practice remain firmly and inseparably in harmony.

We urge all those who will participate in the second Synod in October 2015 to make a clear and firm proclamation of the Church’s unchanging moral teaching, so that confusion may be removed, and faith confirmed.

So far a good number of priests have signed. I hope that more will. We need initiatives such as this. On a number of occasions Pope Francis has called for a more consultative process in church matters, one less reliant on centralized, bureaucratic control. This sort of public statement—something petition-like—gives the Holy See a clear picture of where the men in the trenches of day-to-day ministry stand when it comes to issues being debated at the highest levels. This is a good thing.

R. R. Reno is editor of First Things.

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