Reaction to Cardinal Rigali’s Response

What is your reaction to the response? The first parish bulletin insert only indirectly answers one of our 10 questions. When child safety is at stake, we won’t wait months for “possible topics for future inserts.” Waiting with faith brought us the latest grand jury report. We find this response unacceptable. The last question remains unanswered by Church leadership. It also seems to remain unexamined. What would Jesus do?

Pope John Paul II was quite clear on this point in an address to Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bishops in 2004. While his beatification is controversial for some, the text of his address in regard to the role of the laity is important and Pope Benedict XVI referenced it during his Apostolic visit to the U.S. in 2008. Here is some of the text:

“In our meetings, many of you have expressed your concern about the crisis of confidence in the Church’s leadership provoked by the recent sexual abuse scandals, the general call for accountability in the Church’s governance on every level and the relations between Bishops, clergy and the lay faithful. I am convinced that today, as at every critical moment in her history, the Church will find the resources for an authentic self-renewal in the wisdom, vision and zeal of Bishops outstanding for their holiness…

“…this will entail a spiritual discernment and critique of certain styles of governance which, even in the name of a legitimate concern for good “administration” and responsible oversight, can run the risk of distancing the pastor from the members of his flock, and obscuring his image as their father and brother in Christ.3. In this regard, the Synod of Bishops acknowledged the need today for each Bishop to develop “a pastoral style which is ever more open to collaboration with all” (Pastores Gregis, 44), grounded in a clear understanding of the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the baptized (cf. Lumen Gentium, 10). …” “consultation and shared responsibility should not be misunderstood as a concession to a secular “democratic” model of governance, but as an intrinsic requirement of the exercise of episcopal authority and a necessary means of strengthening that authority…

That statement validates our mission as Catholics4Change.

“…Experience shows that when priority is mainly given to outward stability, the impetus to personal conversion, ecclesial renewal and missionary zeal can be lost and a false sense of security can ensue. The painful period of self-examination provoked by the events of the past two years will bear spiritual fruit only if it leads the whole Catholic community in America to a deeper understanding of the Church’s authentic nature and mission, and a more intense commitment to making the Church in your country reflect, in every aspect of her life, the light of Christ’s grace and truth.”

The Philadelphia Archdiocesan emphasis on outward stability is proven by carefully constructed letters to the faithful and letters signed by the office of communication. We expect the light of Christ’s truth from our Bishops and Cardinal Rigali. That truth should come in action – not words. These actions are necessary for restoring faith and the renewal of the Church in Philadelphia. Please see our requested actions.

Read the powerful text in its entirety here.

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