We never speak of Priest Support without first acknowledging its connection to Supporting Surviviors and Structural Change, for without the revelations of abuse and cover up and the courage of the victim/survivors who shared their stories, we would never have been catapulted from our pews, and moved to action. To help prevent future abuse, and to promote healing and renewal in our church, collaboration between and among laity and the ordained is imperative. In seeking justice for victims we must also insist on due process and justice for those accused. And ultimately, the structural changes necessary for transparency and accountability include a cultural change in the way laity and clergy relate to one another.
In promoting Priest Support, we are committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent collaboration and healing. We believe that the crisis that gave birth to the VOTF movement is in part due to a pervasive culture that prevents speaking the truth to power. Collaborative relationships between priests and laity are essential to healing and to rebuilding trust. Ultimately, change in the structure of the church is inseparable from change in the culture. To enhance the possibility of change, we are charged with the following objectives:
- To promote opportunities for priests, survivors and laity to speak the truth;
- To encourage collaboration and mutual support between priests and laity;
- To affirm the universal priesthood of all the faithful by virtue of our baptism;
- To model the Church as defined by the documents of Vatican II;
- To insist on due process and justice for all;
- To coordinate, communicate and encourage efforts by individual parishes and affiliates on behalf of priest support;
- To honor those priests who, in word and action, exhibit courage and compassion along with principled leadership.