As global communities representing tens of thousands of Catholic students, intellectuals, and professionals, IMCS and ICMICA* wish to express our support for Pope Francis and his efforts to address the global crisis of sexual abuse and to bring about much needed reforms of ecclesial structures.
As Catholic movements, we lament the suffering experienced by far too many children, women, and men at the hands of some priests, religious, and lay leaders. Their suffering cries out to God from the depths of pain and injustice (Psalm 130).
As lay movements, we deplore the clericalism and cover-ups by church leaders, which place image, reputation, and clerical status over the suffering of children.
As baptized members of the People of God, we reject the efforts by some discontented voices to use this crisis to advance their own political and ecclesial agendas as they attack the Holy Father. We affirm the recent statement by CELAM Latin American bishops which has described these attacks as shameful.
We support Pope Francis in his efforts to renew the church and reorient our structures with a “missionary key” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 33) and a renewed call to holiness (Gaudete et exsultate).
We believe that the Gospel offers us values to guide some future directions, including: the option for the poor to remind us to place those who have suffered abuse at the center of all our efforts; participation to remind us of the co-responsibility of all the baptized in church decision making; and justice to remind us of the need for ethics in our structures.
As global movements, we are ready to work with the Holy Father and other church leaders in prayerfully reflecting, analyzing, and acting to address the present crisis.
We invite our national movements, individual members and all people of good will to:
- consider how they can support Pope Francis and other local efforts at church reform and accountability;
- to adopt clear policies to protect against sexual abuse in our own movements and communities;
- to facilitate reflections on the role and vocation of Catholic intellectuals and professionals in the church today.