Voice of the Faithful® prays for Pope Benedict XVI’s spiritual and physical health as he announces his resignation today, a move the Catholic Church has not seen for 600 years. The worldwide Catholic Church reform movement also prays that the new pope will be willing to listen to and discern the collective wisdom of all the people of God.
VOTF also hopes that, following the transition to a new pope, the Church can move more quickly toward full disclosure in the worldwide clergy sexual abuse scandal, accountability for those who have abetted the scandal, less secrecy in Church operation and a greater voice for the laity in how the Church is run.
Once thought of as an American problem, the clergy sexual abuse scandal circled the world by 2010, and revelations since 2002 have clearly shown the Church hierarchy knew about clergy sexual abuse for decades and kept it secret by transferring pedophile priests and covering up their crimes.
Despite Pope Benedict’s efforts to make a greater commitment to cleaning up the abuse scandal and address financial improprieties, the church still faces numerous problems, such as, loss of collegiality between Vatican curia and bishops, narrow doctrinal definitions that challenge valid theological inquiries, refusal to discuss the second-class status of women in the Church, demands that religious woman subordinate their social justice missions to Vatican control and, ultimately, a failure to hold accountable all bishops who were complicit in covering up clergy sexual abuse.
VOTF prays a new pope will emphasize transparency and accountability that can heal rifts in the Church and lead to fulfillment of Vatican II promises for a renewed Church, one open to ministering within today’s world rather than seeking a return to a world many centuries past.