Voice of the Faithful endorses U.S. priests’ statement on priestly formation

BOSTON, Mass., Apr. 11, 2018 – Voice of the Faithful, a movement of Roman Catholics whose major goals include supporting priests, endorses the recent statement made by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests that calls for revisions in the training of men for ordination to the priesthood to ensure greater adherence to the tenets of the Second Vatican Council and teachings of Pope Francis.

The impetus for AUSCP’s statement stems from the 2016 mandate of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy that each bishop’s conference update its Program for Priestly Formation.

“Our study and reflection persuade us that a new Program of Priestly Formation needs more than minimal editing … It needs in-depth revisions,” the priests said in a letter to Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on the Consecrated Life and Vocations. “Our comments are made in response to the significant challenges facing the Church in the United States.”

The priests include among these challenges fewer Catholics actively participating in the Church, fewer priests and candidates for the priesthood, fewer converts, fewer Church weddings, fewer baptisms, fewer parishes, and more people identifying themselves as “spiritual” rather than “religious.”

The AUSCP statement, “Preparing the Sixth Edition of the Program of Priestly Formation,” points to six overriding concerns: faithfulness to Vatican II, call to service, pastoral model of priestly formation, psychosexual development and celibacy, discernment processes, and faculty formation. As stated in their letter, these thoughts are “grounded” in Vatican II, in the writings, statements, and actions of Pope Francis, and in their own experiences. In their statement, the priests make recommendations to help address each of these concerns. Use this link to read the AUSCP’s entire letter and statement.

In endorsing this statement, VOTF points out it has long sought greater emphasis on Vatican II values, including less “clerical,” more pastoral priests, who place service as their highest calling. VOTF also sees as immensely valuable a greater emphasis on psychosexual training for the priesthood, which may have helped avert or at least ameliorate the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

The priests conclude their statement by pointing out that the “current seminary model was established nearly 500 years ago.” As its motto, “Keep the faith, change the Church,” suggests, VOTF would agree that time for change is here.

Voice of the Faithful Statement, Apr. 11, 2018

Contact: Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org, 781-559-3360

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity, and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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  1. #1 by Acayo, Pauline on April 12, 2018 - 1:10 AM

    I like this, we need more priests, more church goers etc. In Africa one Parish can have like 40 or more out stations deep in the community and far from the Parish.
    Priests always have to ride motor cycles to reach those deep no roads places.
    They move from Monday to Friday and they will be returning late evening and very tired.
    During Easter or Christmas there are over 300 children baptized in a Parish and Weddings are almost every week (Sat)
    Youth activities and children’s activities still very strong in the Parishes e.g strong choirs for each Mass and very enculturated lasting 1-2 hours and on feast days can even last 3 hours.
    On Sunday Christians give time in the Church no hurry, it is the day of the Lord.
    In a diocese, sometimes in a year there can be over 7 candidates for Ordination in some places even over to 10.
    Like in Uganda, there is a strong inter religious activities together e.g for years Catholic and Protestants are doing way of the cross together on Good Friday.
    Whenever there is a celebration in the Catholic Church, other denominations (Muslim, Pentecostal, Protestants) are invited and they also contribute in the preparation vice visa.
    This has brought great unity and looking at each other as my brother.
    We thank God, but we need to pray for the all Catholic Church to have priests and active ones.

    Sr. Pauline Silver Acayo | Project Coordinator – SCORE ECD Project | Kenya, Malawi and Zambia
    | Cell: +254 (0) 732777736| Email: pauline.acayo@crs.org | Skype: pacayo1
    | St. Augustine’s Court, Karune Close | Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya | crs.org | crsespanol.org

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