May 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On May 2, 2018, priests from around the world launched an appeal to bishops to “reaffirm Christ’s teaching” in response to a pastoral crisis facing the Catholic Church.
Following its initial release with only 15 signers, the Pastoral Appeal has rapidly obtained the support of approximately 250 priests from 39 countries on 6 continents. The concerns expressed and the desire for the bishops’ assistance clearly resonate with priests worldwide.
This notable growth has occurred despite press coverage being effectively limited to independent Catholic media, which are primarily in the United States and Europe. (For reporting see “Appeal News” at CuraPastoralis.org.)
Some of the early coverage mistakenly cast the Pastoral Appeal as a veiled criticism of Pope Francis, especially of Amoris Laetitia. In reality, the appeal wishes to reaffirm the Gospel in order to correct a false view of Christian moral life that has taken root over the past 50 years.
The intention of the signers is described in the Background Information (see the website):
- to witness publicly to Christ and his teachings, thereby providing counsel for those who are in doubt or misled, solidarity for those remaining faithful to the Gospel in difficult circumstances, and encouragement to their brother priests to minister with compassion, perseverance, and the authentic Gospel rather than to give way to impatience, passivity, or deliberate ambiguity;
- to draw attention to the Church’s decades-long pastoral efforts to heal the damage by correcting these errors;
- to request, in light of the inadequacy of those past efforts, that each bishop consider using his full apostolic authority in order to reaffirm the Gospel and refute the errors; and
- to present their pastoral concerns and appeal in a fraternal and filial manner.
This positive, pastoral approach may account for the welcome the Pastoral Appeal is receiving among priests. Support has also been expressed by some prelates, including:
Bishop Emeritus Anthony Lee Kok Hin of Miri, Malaysia: “God bless you for providing me this opportunity to join you in upholding the principles of pastoral ministry as found in the Gospels.”
Cardinal Raymond Burke: “May [the signers’]… action inspire their bishops to dispel the confusion of the present time in the Church and thus to begin to heal the division regarding the Catholic faith and its practice.”