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Faithful Catholics Engender Significant #MeToo, #CatholicToo Moment with Decades Long Work to Dismantle Clericalism and Hold Those in Authority Accountable for Clergy Sex Abuse
Release date: 
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Contact(s): 
Deborah Rose-Milavec

The resignation of the powerful prelate Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the release of the 1300 page Pennsylvania grand jury report are further proof that the elite authority structure in the Catholic Church is bankrupt. Moreover, they are also evidence that decades of work to reform the institutional Church are having an effect today and that such reforms are a pathway forward to justice as Catholics seek to meet this crisis head on.  

“This is a #MeToo -- #CatholicToo -- moment of clarity,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, executive director of FutureChurch.  “Authorities in the Church who once thought their hold on power was unassailable are now facing justice because of the determination and courage of so many Catholics.” 

FutureChurch is cautiously encouraged by the U.S. Bishops’ call for a full investigation by the Vatican into what they have called a “moral catastrophe” and calls on bishops to go further by offering civil authorities all they need to investigate and prosecute criminal behavior. Catholic officials must also end their practices of shaming victims, hiding evidence of criminal behavior, fighting changes in the statute of limitations for victims, and keeping reports like the Pennsylvania grand jury report from being released.

Still, deeper reforms of Church governance and structure are needed. “The call for oversight of these investigations by lay people is critical,” said Russ Petrus, associate director of FutureChurch.  “But beyond abuse investigations, we need lay people -- and especially women -- in places of authority locally, regionally, and in Rome to hold clerics accountable in every aspect of Church life.”

“For over 28 years, FutureChurch activists have been committed to dismantling the structural patriarchy and clericalism that has excluded married men from the priesthood, barred women from ordained ministry and governance, closed parishes, and created an elite culture of privilege that has produced far too many predator priests and bishops,” said Jocelyn Collen, chair of the FutureChurch Board of Trustees.  “We have educated and advocated for the kind of reforms that were first envisioned at the Second Vatican Council and, today, in the face of these latest revelations, we have no doubt about the significance and effectiveness of our collective work to transform the institution for the work of the Gospel.”

FutureChurch offers resources to help keep the pressure for change up in this moment.

1.  Urge U.S. Bishops to reform seminary programs (http://bit.ly/ReformSeminaryPrograms)

2.  Join the #CatholicToo movement and share your story of being silenced, sidelined, or abused in the Catholic Church.  (www.CatholicToo.org)

3.  Join FutureChurch for our next teleconference with Distinguished Professor Michael Higgins on September 5, 2018 as he talks about the fall of Cardinal McCarrick and this Rubicon moment that will lead to change (http://bit.ly/FCTeleconference_Higgins)

4.  Join others in your parish or community in an important effort to “Listen to Women” and to let priests and bishops know about the true and unfiltered experience of being a woman in the Catholic Church.” (www.ListeningToWomen.org)

“FutureChurch honors all those whose tenacity has helped pivot the Church toward much needed reform and whose efforts are being seen today in these painful but powerful events, said Rose-Milavec. “Thank God for the commitment of our Catholic sisters and brothers, lay and ordained, who have doggedly refused to let the promise of the Gospel erode in the face of darkness and corruption.”

 

 

About FutureChurch Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, FutureChurch seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition of parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.