Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Press Release - VOTF SEEKS RETURN TO LAY INPUT IN BISHOP SELECTION PROCESS

Contact: Jessica Lillie, votfpr@votf.org, (781) 559-3360, (314) 749-5188 cell or Ed Wilson, 718-858-3442, ed.anne@verizon.net

VOTF SEEKS RETURN TO LAY INPUT IN BISHOP SELECTION PROCESS
Proposal Shows Way to Move Forward from Current Scandals

April 14, 2010 -Boston – In a 14-page document sent to the Vatican and key bishops, Voice of the Faithful has asked that the laity be given a greater role in selecting bishops. The document, Consulting the Laity on Candidates for the Episcopacy, calls this an “opportune time for the Holy See to publish new procedures that require broader consultation of the laity in the local Episcopal recommendation process.” The change, reflecting earlier practices in the Church, would “lead to greater esteem for its results both within and outside the Roman Catholic Church, thereby contributing to the good of the Church.”

Faced with mounting evidence that the clergy sexual abuse crisis can be directly linked to failed Episcopal leadership on a global scale, the Church needs to pursue such renewal as one way to end the practices that led to such failures. “Lay involvement in the selection of bishops would certainly represent a big step in the right direction” said Dan Bartley, President of Voice of the Faithful.

Dr. Nick Mazza, a moderator for the VOTF Universal Church Reform team and national secretary for the organization, says the new process will help emphasize the pastoral responsibilities of bishops. “The leaders of our dioceses must be accountable to the people they serve, not solely to Rome,” he says. “Over the past few months Voice of the Faithful has developed a process that we believe will help correct the current imbalance.”

VOTF sent the document last month directly to the Holy See. The proposal outlines steps for greater lay involvement in recommending candidates for bishop, a process that currently includes input from a variety of clerical officials but no meaningful input from the lay women and men the new bishop would serve.

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For more information about the VOTF‘s “Selection of Bishops” initiative please visit www.votf.org or email Jessica at votfpr@votf.org or call 781-552-3360. Any inquires past April 19th should be directed to Ed Wilson, 781-858-3442 or ed.anne@verizon.net

Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) is a lay organization formed in 2002 in response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. It started in the basement of a church in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and has since expanded worldwide with more than 150 Parish Voice affiliates and 30,000 members. The entire organization is committed to helping the Catholic Church.