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Parish Priests (Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:33 pm)

We strongly support the unsung heroes of the Catholic Church, our parish priests. For most of us they are the ones who provide us with the sacraments, preach the good news, and represent the bishop, the institutional next-in-command. The pre-Vatican II model of parish priest was to be a foot soldier to the bishop who silently did what he was told. Like everyone else, he was to pray, pay, and obey, but bishops cannot operate without their priests. This makes them a potentially powerful force for change in the church.

There are signs that parish priests here in the U.S. are slowly beginning to realize that their role is not just to carry out wishes of the bishop, but it is also to inform him of the attitudes, reception, and reaction, of his people, as well as his own, to what is happening in the Church. Priests have been victimized as well as the laity. Our and their silence has contributed to our shared plight.

We urge our priests to first carefully listen to us, their people, confer with their colleagues, form their own conscience based opinions, and collectively and individually convey the benefit of this process to the bishop. We and you can no longer be silent. We have witnessed the havoc that silence can wreak on the Church. Together we must hold our bishops to openness and accountability, but we rely on you, our priest of integrity, to speak out in behalf of your people, and prayerfully support you for doing so.

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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