Archive for October 29th, 2013

Pope Francis Embodies My Hopes for the Church / Hans Kung

Since Pope Francis took office in March, almost everything he has said and done indicates that he is bent on carrying through a thorough reform of the Roman Catholic Church, beginning with the Vatican itself.” By Hans Kung, The Tablet. You can read the rest of Kung’s commentary by clicking here.

Voice of the Faithful® also finds hope in Pope Francis for Church reform. Many of the sentiments he has expressed complement those Voice of the Faithful has always espoused. Here are a few:

  • During an interview with America magazine, Pope Francis said, “Human self-understanding changes
    with time and so also human consciousness deepens. The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith
    to defend without nuance or different understanding is wrong.”
  • In its mission statement, VOTF commits itself to providing the Church with “a prayerful voice, attentive
    to the Spirit,” thereby attuning its organizational conscience to the Spirit’s guidance, as espoused by Vatican II. “Catholics should try to cooperate with all men and women of good will to promote whatever is true, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable (cf. Phil. 4:8). They should hold discussions with them, excel them in prudence and courtesy, and initiate research on social and public practices which should be improved in line with the spirit of the Gospel.” (Apostolate/Laity #15)
  • In addressing the reorganization of Vatican congregations, Pope Francis said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should continue to “act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty.”
  • In its statement concerning Pope Francis’ Vatican reorganization, VOTF said,If Pope Francis wishes
    to demonstrate that the Church will, at last, ‘act decisively,’
    in matters of child sexual abuse, these are instances (examples of bishops allegedly complicit in abetting or covering up clergy sexual abuse) where he can hold accountable the bishops who fail to act in such cases. Voice of the Faithful® urges Pope Francis
    to call for investigations under canon law or to censure these bishops directly. He is the only person in the Church who can do so.”
  • In addressing the role of the clergy, Pope Francis said, Priests should be “shepherds living with the smell
    of the sheep
    ,” and, “Leaders of the Church have often been Narcissuses, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy … This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us
    … The church is or should go back to being a community of God’s people, and priests, pastors and bishops who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God.”
  • Voice of the Faithful has long decried this clericalism in the Church. In 2011, VOTF criticized the John Jay Institute’s Study of the Causes and Context of the Sexual Abuse Crisis for describing clericalism but not naming it as a principal cause for clergy sex abuse and coverup. “Clericalism,” VOTF’s report noted, “is an overriding set of beliefs and behaviors in which the clergy view themselves as different, separate, and exempt from the norms, rules and consequences that apply to everyone else in society.”
  • In addressing women’s roles in the Church, Pope Francis said, “Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The Church cannot be herself without the woman and her role. The woman is essential for the Church … I say this because we must not confuse the function with the dignity. We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the Church.”
  • In its paper on re-establishing the ordained women’s diaconate, Voice of the Faithful® said, “One of the best kept secrets of the Catholic Church is that for the first half of its history, that is, for more than 11 centuries, women were ordained to the diaconate by bishops, within the sanctuary, with the laying on
    of hands … Yet, since the close of the Second Vatican Council, the Vatican has not moved to restore the female diaconate in the Catholic Church, even though, … the Church today has both the authority and the power to ordain women deacons.”

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