|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 17, 2002
For over two decades the
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church has called the Catholic
Church to develop a participatory Church governance structure that will
end outdated practices of unilateral, unaccountable privilege and lack
of transparency that have been typical of monarchies and unworthy of a
church that claims to bring the light of Christ into the world. The bishops'
meeting in Dallas was the beginning of a process which must not end whether
the Vatican approves or not.
We commend the USCCB for
their efforts toward resolving the current crisis and making the Dallas
conference into a landmark event. It may well affect the future of the
Catholic Church not only in the United States but all over the world. We
commend the bishops for showing themselves as shepherds concerned with
those in their care by listening to critics and victims. We commend the
bishops for admitting their mistakes in public. We commend the bishops
for arriving at a final version of the Charter by a transparent and democratic
process. We commend the bishops for having their deliberations televised
and webcast. We commend the bishops for placing documents and transcripts
on a website for open examination, discussion, and critique.
ARCC supports all actions
to prosecute perpetrators of sexual abuse. Victims have a right to full
judicial processes. However, as advocates for the rights of ALL Catholics
in the Church including priests, we are troubled by the charter's reduction
of all forms of sexual abuse to the same level. This kind of draconian
implementation violates the basic Christian principle of forgiveness and
will result in harm to good men who have sinned and reformed.
We are concerned by the lack
of debate concerning the annulment of ordination. We are concerned
at the relatively minimal involvement of lay people in bodies called to
establish policies and effect structural changes. These bodies must be
independent of all hierarchical ties and have real authority.
The failure to include policies
dealing with bishops who do not follow the norms is of deep concern. The
People of God will continue in their anger at the leaders of the church
until a policy to address this is in place.
We call on the Bishops to
refine this Charter to address these concerns. In addition, they must continue
this process of full disclosure begun at the Dallas meeting by launching
professional financial audits of all dioceses in the United States. We
call on priests to speak the truth in love to their superiors and discontinue
destructive cover-ups. Catholics will not wait for the approval of the
Vatican for these reforms to this document. They must begin now. Bishops
have the authority and now a mandate from the People.
|Mary Louise Hartman
National Coordinator 413-527-9929
ARCC is a 501-c3 non-profit
international organization dedicated to achieving substantive structural
change in the Roman Catholic Church. It works to implement an identified
body of rights that every Catholic has from Baptism and membership in the
human community. ARCC works for a more collegial church structure,
which affirms these rights through accountability and shared decision-making.
to USCCB Website of June 2002 Bishops' Meeting