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Press Release For Immediate release

Voice of the Faithful® sees Synod of Bishops on Family as signal of hope for reform
October 24, 2014

The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family closed this past Sunday, Oct. 19, and pundits inside and outside the Church are now considering the synod’s ramifications. The most significant occurrence for the Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful® was the synod’s process of listening, openness to all points of view and transparency.

We see hope for the future input of lay voices, which are essential if the Church is to speak meaningfully on family life and other matters in the 21st century.

The synod certainly took the Church “out of its comfort zone,” as a German family counselor there is reported to have said. The bishops heard “about real life for families around the world.” They discussed each issue openly and freely to a degree not seen publicly in the Church for quite some time.

We do not know who said what during individual sessions, but the Pope made the unexpectedly transparent move of publishing the vote counts in the document that closed the synod. Controversial issues did not receive two-thirds majorities required for acceptance, but they received significant majorities.

Bishops are expected to continue discussions with clergy and laity in their home dioceses as they prepare for the second synod on the family in October 2015. Pope Francis warned the bishops that, during this year-long process, they must avoid camping at either end of the spectrum, showing neither “hostile inflexibility” nor “deceptive mercy.” We hope all lay faithful will now raise their own voices to provide the bishops with ideas and realities consistent with the lives of modern families in today’s world.

The bishops listened to each other. Let us hope they heed Pope Francis’ call to hear the voices of all the faithful before next October.

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 governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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

 

Voice of the Faithful® sees Synod of Bishops on Family as signal of hope for reform

BOSTON, Mass., Oct. 24, 2014 – The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family closed this past Sunday, Oct.  read more »

Press Release For Immediate release

VOTF National Statement: From bishops' synods to bishops' appointments, how much does Cathlic lay input count?
October 9, 2014

As the extraordinary synod on the family plays out in Rome, and even before the synod through the Vatican questionnaire distributed worldwide at Pope Francis’ urging, lay input into Catholic Church issues has become increasingly visible.

Pope Francis has said that he expects bishops to pay increasing attention to lay voices and “real life experiences” to become effective pastors. But bishops typically are accustomed to speaking to other clerics and to specially selected lay voices. The “ordinary person” has few opportunities for direct input into Church matters.

Voice of the Faithful®, long an advocate for greater lay input into the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church, provides opportunities to generate direct access, especially in the realm of bishop selection itself. VOTF’s bishop selection project has made it possible for the ordinary Catholic to communicate directly with the U.S. apostolic nuncio, who forwards bishop candidates to the Vatican.

Voice of the Faithful® developed an Internet portal at www.votf.org/bishop to allow Catholics to provide input to the apostolic nuncio. Their input goes directly to the nuncio’s email box when they click Submit on the questionnaire. Current U.S. Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo M. Viganò has assured VOTF that all input reaching him from individual Catholics will be reviewed and that “serious observations may well be incorporated in the developed confidential process.”

The VOTF web portal allows Catholics to record their concerns and recommendations in three key areas: 1.) outstanding needs and opportunities in the diocese; 2.) candidates’ ideal qualities and qualifications; and 3.) priests who would be excellent candidates for their bishop.

Over the past two years, nearly 500 Catholics in nearly a dozen dioceses from New England to Alaska have submitted their comments through this portal or, in the case of Chicago, a related second survey. This process is one way to restore widespread lay input into the central question of who serves the faithful in a diocese as their bishop and to restore in the twenty-first century a lay-consultative process nearly as old as the Church itself.

Click here for additional information on the bishop selection process and its history.

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 governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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

Press Release For Immediate release

VOTF National Statement: Will Vatican's first criminal trial on charges of clergy sexual abuse signal new policy?
September 24, 2014

The arrest and initiation of criminal proceedings against a former papal nuncio for child sex abuse may signal the Vatican is ready to take substantive action on clergy sex abuse and cover-ups instead of just talking about needed changes.

The arrest Sept. 23 of former bishop and apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic Josef Wesołowski, who is accused of having paid for sex with minors, is just one step. Still needed are penalties for bishops who covered up child sex abuse and shielded priests from criminal prosecution. This problem continues today despite the Church’s constant vows to do better.

If this arrest demonstrates a new resolve by the Church under Francis’ papacy to discipline abusers and abettors of the scandal, Voice of the Faithful® is encouraged the Church may have turned a corner in its handling of clergy sexual abuse, but next steps to discipline other bishops are needed now, not in the distant future.

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 governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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

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