Friday, November 22, 2019

Future Church Calls on U.S. Bishops to Fully Embrace the Core Teachings of Pope Francis


For Immediate Release
Contacts: Russ Petrus & Deborah Rose-Milavec, Co-Directors, 216.228.0869 (w), 513.673.1401 (m), russ@futurechurch.org, debrose@futurechurch.org

As the U.S. Bishops end their annual assembly and begin their Ad Limina visits with Pope Francis, FutureChurch urges them, individually, and as a body, to fully embrace the core teachings of the current pope and discontinue their one issue approach to Catholic Social Teaching.

During the November 11 – 13, 2019 general assembly, the U.S. Bishops signaled their continued resistance to Pope Francis’ whole-life direction for the Catholic Church by re-issuing a voter guide, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, that continues to give immigration, climate change, racism, and other issues a second tier evaluation and emphasis.

“In light of the revelations at the Synod on the Amazon regarding the destruction of the land, air, water, and people that had just concluded two weeks prior to this assembly, the jaundiced assessment of outgoing president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and, seemingly, a majority of bishops that climate change was an issue of ‘importance, but not urgent’ is a sure-fire indicator of uninformed and failed leadership,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, Co-Director of FutureChurch. “Indigenous peoples, women religious, and bishops are protecting the forest, the rivers, and our common home, often, at great cost, and Catholics need and deserve bishops who will deliver truth when it comes to the dangers we face along with a holy mandate for healing the damage we have inflicted.”

FutureChurch applauds the small group of bishops who stood firmly and spoke courageously about the need for reform within the U.S. Bishops conference. 

Apostolic Nuncio Christophe Pierre called the bishops to exercise greater communion with Francis. Bishop John Stowe called his brother bishops ‘irresponsible’ for not developing a new guide based on today’s realities and Pope Francis’ teaching. Bishop Robert McElroy argued forcefully for taking the descriptor “preeminent” out of the document because it signaled a continuation of the one-issue policy that Pope Francis rejects. Cardinal Blaise Cupich fought vigorously to include the portion of Gaudete et Exultate that calls the bishops themselves to task for a faulty method for ranking priorities.  

“Our role as pastors is to help Catholics form their own conscience; not to tell them how to vote on any particular candidate or issue,” said Fred Daley, FutureChurch board member and priest. “Regrettably, such single-mindedness from our bishops neglects this sacred responsibility and misses an opportunity to share the depth and richness of Catholic Social Teaching.” 

A new Pew Research Center survey shows that more than any other religious group, U.S. Catholics no longer trust their bishops to give them guidance on important issues. 

““As the bishops continue give ‘pre-eminence’ to one issue over the others, they increasingly engage in partisan politics rather than the proclamation of the Gospel and marginalize their already waning influence as trusted pastors,” said Russ Petrus, Co-Director of FutureChurch. “Further, they undercut their own priorities by ignoring the wholistic approach offered by Pope Francis to reduce all violence and uphold the dignity and equality of all – for the earth, immigrants, women, those born into poverty and suffering, and those unborn.” 

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