Vienna, 19 June 2013
Pope Francis: 100 Days in Office
Statement by the Austrian Priests’ Initiative on 19 June 2013
…that in his first three months of office, Pope Francis has taken a number of clear stances that instil hope and that have been long awaited by a large majority of the people of the Church. Pope Francis has restituted simplicity, modesty and approachability to the office bestowed upon him, thereby signalling that it is his will to lead the Church in a new fashion. Expectations are high that he will set a personal example and lead the Vatican in serving the Church in new ways.
We gain hope…
…from Pope Francis’ distinct and cooperative manner with his fellow bishops, and we expect him to soon take steps towards a new companionship with them in leading the Church throughout the world: through a revaluation of the Synod of Bishops as an institution of true co-determination and leadership participation, a revaluation of the different worldwide regions of the Church and a reassessment of the Conferences of Bishops, based on subsidiarity as a fundamental principle of Christian social teaching.
… from his seeking the blessing of the people, and we expect him to soon take steps towards including the people, with their own experiences of faith and of life and with their own personal gifts and talents, in taking fundamental decisions in relation to the Church:
through the recognition of pertinent fundamental rights for all the baptised and through synodal structures for the baptised to partake in Church-related decision-making.
…from his efforts in seeking closeness to the people, and we expect that he will soon take clear steps to support the congregations as the pillars of the Church, sharing the day to day lives of its people, celebrating their faith with them and showing solidarity in situations of hardship: through granting access to the office of congregational leadership for all the baptised who display the necessary aptitude – whether they be unmarried or
married, whether women or men; through the abolition of the practice of excluding people from the sacraments of the Church when they have failed in a marriage and seek a new beginning in a new relationship.
…from his endeavour to speak about faith from a new angle, and we expect clear steps towards the development of a modern-day language for prayer and for the ideas and concepts that form part of our faith.
…from his vision of a Church of the poor and for the poor, and we expect this Church to rid itself of unnecessary possessions and to support congregations and priests in their commitment to promoting humane and just global structures.
…from the appointment of a group of cardinals to reform the Vatican as the central element of the Church as a worldwide institution, and we expect further steps towards a culture of transparency and accountability as well as a new form of dialogue and conflict resolution within the Church.
We appeal to the bishops…
…not to wait for the decisions and actions of the Pope, but to push forward the reforms in our Church and to actively implement steps in this endeavour.
…to stop the merging of parishes and to seek new forms of parish leadership together with the Pope.
…to insist on their right to partake in the decision-making processes in the appointment of bishops and to advocate new forms of participation of the baptised in the appointment of bishops.
We continue to join our forces…
…to support the parishes in maintaining their independence and to accompany them in word and deed on their journey towards a lively future.
We have created a worldwide network……with like-minded groups of priests in Australia, Germany, England, France, Ireland, Switzerland and the USA. Together we will strive for a Church that is credible, modern, and oriented towards the well-being of the people.
Vienna, 19 June 2013