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Voices of the Faithful
Preamble and four motions

Following is the full text of the preamble and the four motions adopted Dec. 11 by Voice of the Faithful, a reform group that developed in the wake of the sex abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese:

  • Whereas sexual abuse by some clergy has inflicted immeasurable pain and prolonged suffering on untold numbers of innocent girls, boys, women and men;
  • Whereas the archbishop has engaged in a pervasive pattern of behavior to conceal and cover up their evil actions;
  • Whereas faith-filled Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston are suffering and in a state of spiritual pain and distress;
  • Whereas the spiritual suffering has continued unabated for nearly one year, since Jan. 6, 2002;
  • Whereas many faith-filled Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston have lost confidence in the ability of their Archbishop to effectively minister to them;
  • Whereas, the loss of confidence constitutes a crisis of religious and moral leadership in the Archdiocese of Boston;
  • Whereas the crisis of moral and religious leadership has brought great scandal to the Catholic Church and to the people of the Archdiocese of Boston; and
  • Whereas, this great scandal cannot be corrected without the appointment of a person of moral character and pastoral demeanor that inspires confidence among the priests and people of the Archdiocese of Boston;
  • Whereas, the Vatican authorities, who have jurisdiction over these matters, are the actual overseers of the historic and pandemic sexual abuse problem in the Church;
  • Whereas we as laity will pursue with undiminished commitment the exercise of our baptismal right and obligation to participate actively alongside our pastoral and ecclesiastical leadership in the governance and guidance of the Roman Catholic Church

Motion 1

  • We call on Cardinal Bernard F. Law to immediately resign as Archbishop of Boston.

Motion 2

  • We petition the Holy Father to acknowledge the need for holy, pastoral leadership in the Archdiocese of Boston; to acknowledge the urgency of this need; and to appoint, only after meaningful consultation with the Church of Boston, including the laity, the priests and religious, and the hierarchy, a suitable person to this position which, de facto, is not functioning at this time.

Motion 3

  • That VOTF communicate with Bishop Wilton Gregory, President of the USCCB, and request that the bishops, individually and collectively, and in the spirit of their publicly stated commitments, recognize and respond to the moral and pastoral crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Motion 4

  • That VOTF communicate with Bishop Wilton Gregory, President of the USCCB, and request that the bishops open to the public the hidden records of known sexual abusers in their own dioceses.

National Catholic Reporter, Posted December 12, 2002