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Pope commends collaborative governance to US bishops


In the wake of the sex abuse scandal, US bishops should be open to a more collaborative style of governance that shares responsibility with lay Catholics, Pope John Paul II has told a group of New Jersey and Pennsylvania bishops in Rome for their ad limina visit.

Speaking on Saturday, the Pope said a consultative approach should not be seen as an abandonment of episcopal authority or a concession to democracy, but as a necessary way of strengthening a bishop's effectiveness.

The Holy Father's theme was episcopal governance, and he said he wanted to explore it in the context of the sex abuse crisis. He said many of the bishops had spoken to him of a "crisis of confidence" in church leadership provoked by the abuse scandals and about the general call for accountability in the church's governance on every level.

The pope said the bishops should be willing to critique certain styles of governance that, in the name of efficient administration, "can run the risk of distancing the pastor from the members of his flock."

He recalled that the 2001 Synod of Bishops had acknowledged the need for each bishop to "develop a pastoral style which is ever more open to collaboration with all." Although bishops remain responsible for making authoritative decisions, this presupposes participation in decision-making by "every category of the faithful," he said.

Bishop Edward Cullen of Allentown, Pennsylvania, told Catholic News Service that the Vatican's doctrinal officials had done an excellent job clarifying the procedural issues. He also said the bishops received strong encouragement about their efforts to address the needs of sex abuse victims.

SOURCE
Pope urges U.S. bishops to have collaborative style of governance (Catholic News Service 13/9/04)

LINKS
John Paul II Sees 3 Imperatives for Christians (Zenit 12/9/04)
U.S. Bishops' Governance Shouldn't Distance Them From Flock, Says Pope (Zenit 12/9/04)
Bishops must lead U.S. Church toward renewal through holy witness (Catholic News Agency 13/9/04)
Mary's maternal love inspires us to open our hearts to the suffering of others, says Pope (Catholic News Agency 13/9/04)
May Mary watch over mankind in this hour marked by violence, says Pope (Catholic News Agency 13/9/04)
Cooperation among peoples, religions, and cultures is urgent, says Cardinal (Catholic News Agency 13/9/04)
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Pope joins bishops in praying for end to scourge of terrorism (Vatican Information Service 13/9/04)


14 Sep 2004