Voice Of the Faithful
Voice of the Faithful Representative Council passed the following resolution on Saturday, September 18, 2004.
The U.S. bishops in 2002 adopted, and the Vatican approved, a policy
of permanently removing from ministry any priest for even a single act of
sexual abuse of a
The harm done by predator priests was often greatly magnified by the
actions of bishops who knowingly reassigned such priests, covered up their
offenses, and placed the avoidance of “scandal” above the protection
The gross failure of leadership of such bishops is at least as morally
culpable as the crimes of abuser priests.
Justice demands and the manifest need for healing in the Catholic Church
in the United States and elsewhere requires that such bishops be held accountable
for their betrayal of the people of God.
Just as priests who have exploited their priestly ministries to abuse
children are precluded from continuing in such ministry, those bishops
who have failed to exercise their ministry of leadership in the service of
People of God should be precluded from continuing in any ministry
of leadership in the Church.
The maintenance of such bishops in positions of leadership — exemplified
by the appointment of Bernard Law to the position of the Archpriest
of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome and his continued service on important
Vatican congregations — scandalizes the faithful, diminishes
the moral authority of the episcopal office, and suggests to
and to the
world that the Catholic Church is unwilling to hold its leaders
Voice of the Faithful hereby resolves that no bishop or other hierarch
who, knowing of the sexual abuse of minors by any priest, has failed
to remove the priest from any exposure to minors or to take any
other effective step to protect the people of God, or who has concealed the
risk of abuse presented by such priests from the people to whom
priest was assigned to minister, should be permitted to hold any
position of ecclesiastical leadership in the Church. The Voice of the Faithful
directs the officers of the organization to advocate for the implementation
of this policy in the Church and to take such steps as they consider
advisable to secure that goal.
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To provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit,
through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance
and guidance of the Catholic Church.
1. To support survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
2. To support priests of integrity
3.To shape structural change within the Catholic Church.
Pray Each Day
Jesus, Lord and Brother, help us with our faithfulness.
Please hear our voice, and let our voice be heard. Amen. More
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