April 06, 2005

Progressive Catholics Outline Priorities for New Pope

U.S. Newswire

CHICAGO, April 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Pope John Paul II's departure has left countless people around the world mourning and anticipating what the next pontiff's priorities will be. Linda Pieczynski, spokesperson for Call To Action, the nation's largest church reform group, stated, "We are hoping for a pope who forcefully spreads the message of peace and non-violence throughout the world in these troubled times as did Pope John Paul II. It is critical to continue his legacy in that area. But, the Church needs a leader who also listens to all the people of the Church because the Holy Spirit lives and breathes through all of us as the body of Christ. The new pope must recognize that there is wisdom to be shared by the laity which will assist him in confronting those matters left undone by the previous pope, especially on issues of human sexuality. He may also need to distance himself from some of the positions taken by Pope John Paul II in order to deal with the important issues facing the institution."

"For example, the next pope must take action regarding the priest shortage which threatens the sacramental life of Catholics. There are over 3,000 parishes in the United States without a priest and there are many priests who are pastors of multiple parishes. We hope that the new pope recognizes the necessity of lifting the mandatory celibacy ban," said Pieczynski.

"We are hoping that the bishops will see the need to select someone who will be collegial in his interactions with them and less authoritarian in dealing with those who disagree with him so that creativity is not suppressed and theological development may flourish in academic freedom. We also strongly encourage him to adopt the recommendation from theAbuse Tracker Review Board -- a lay group the bishops created to address the sex abuse crisis -- that there be lay involvement in the selection of bishops. We need to build structures in our church which reflect a more participatory structure."

Posted by kshaw at April 6, 2005 02:37 PM