Pope Francis arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square Aug. 29 at the Vatican. CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters

Thousands of Catholic women write open letter to Pope: 'We deserve answers now'

By  Catholic News Agency
  • August 31, 2018
VATICAN – A group of lay Catholic women have written an open letter to Pope Francis, demanding that he answer the questions raised by the recent allegations in the letter from former U.S. nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

In the opening of their letter, the women recall a quote from Pope Francis on the role of women in the Church: “You have said that you seek ‘a more incisive female presence in the Church,’ and that ‘women are capable of seeing things with a different angle from [men], with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions that we men are not able to understand.’”

“We write to you, Holy Father, to pose questions that need answers,” the letter notes.

Specifically, they are seeking answers to the questions raised in Vigano’s recent letter, which accused Pope Francis and other members of the Church hierarchy for covering up sexual abuse allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The women’s questions for Pope Francis include if or when he was made aware of any sanctions allegedly placed on then-cardinal Theodore McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI, and whether he brought McCarrick back into public ministry despite knowing about these sanctions and accusations.

Asked these questions by journalists on his return flight from the recent World Meeting of Families in Ireland, Pope Francis responded by saying he “will not say a single word on this” and instead encouraged journalists to study the statement themselves and draw their own conclusions.

“To your hurting flock, Pope Francis, your words are inadequate,” the signers of the letter say, addressing the Pope’s response. “They sting, reminiscent of the clericalism you so recently condemned. We need leadership, truth, and transparency. We, your flock, deserve your answers now.”

“Please do not turn from us,” they ask in the letter. “You’ve committed yourself to changing clerical ways in the Church. That a cardinal would prey on seminarians is abhorrent. We need to know we can trust you to be honest with us about what happened. The victims who have suffered so greatly need to know they can trust you. Families, who will be the source of the Church’s renewal, need to know we can trust you, and thus trust the Church.”

The women who have signed the letter serve in a variety of positions and vocations within the Church, in both private and public life. They describe themselves as “deeply committed to our faith and profoundly grateful for Church teachings, the Sacraments, and the many good bishops and priests who have blessed our lives.”

They are “wives, mothers, single women, consecrated women, and religious sisters. We are the mothers and sisters of your priests, seminarians, future priests and religious. We are the Church’s lay leaders, and the mothers of the next generation. We are professors in your seminaries, and leaders in Catholic chanceries and institutions. We are theologians, evangelists, missionaries and founders of Catholic apostolates.”

“In short, we are the Church, every bit as much as the cardinals and bishops around you,” they say. The letter is signed, “With love for Christ and the Church.”

Some prominent signers of the letter include Mary Rice Hasson, the Kate O'Beirne Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; Professor Janet E. Smith, the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary; Leah Darrow, a Catholic speaker, author and evangelist; Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow at The Catholic Association; Kathryn Jean Lopez with the National Review Institute; and Obianuju Ekeocha, the founder and president of Culture of Life Africa.

Other signers include professors and faculty from Catholic institutions including Notre Dame, The Catholic University of America, and the University of St. Thomas, as well as women who are mothers of seminarians, homeschooling mothers, business owners, philosophers and psychologists.

The letter, dated August 30, 2018, is described as the personal initiative of the original signatories and was not organized or sponsored by any group or organization. It had more than 18,000 signatures as of press time.

Catholic News Agency 

Comments (1)

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Here's the central problem. There are 200,000 parishes, with more than 5000 executives (cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops), who oversee the activities of the Church. The Pope, is the chief.

Problems under each of the executive's watch initially...

Here's the central problem. There are 200,000 parishes, with more than 5000 executives (cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops), who oversee the activities of the Church. The Pope, is the chief.

Problems under each of the executive's watch initially get suppressed so that others don't see them ("boy's club reaction"), then finally when they explode into public, the Pope steps in years later. The the press attacks the Pope, who got "dumped on" by a regional problem. People (parishers) start walking because they see politicians who are more interested in the "boy's club" than precious children.....Children of the parishers see the "muck" and lose faith due to agnosticism.

Losing parisheners and a continuous stream of "poor managment monitoring" and cover up, results in inward consternation and a lack of confidence in the Pope and a distrust of regional management.

This has been going on for years and it is destroying the credibility of the leadership and the esteem that the parisheners have held for the institution.



The central issue is a lack of monitoring of the executives so that the Pope and the Cardinals are assured regional management is paying attention and dealing with issues in their area. Each of the issues to date were localized to a region where the senior executive was either turning a blind eye (boys' club reaction), or not monitoring his priests and Bishops (lack of leadership skill).

Most large organizations implement "internal operational management" with auditors who travel to the regions and report back to an oversight group reporting to the board (Cardihnals), whether regional management is meeting the standards of operation that is expect of them. Strengths and weaknesses are noted and the regional manager is given insight so at to deal with the operational problem.

Governments, large corporatons, large charities are use this in standard practice. They develop standards and monitor them. This helps to overcome "hide the idiot" and "mismanagment" because management is aware they are going to be held accountable for serious breach in conduct or mismangement. Under this model, the Pope does not stand alone, but must deal with issues before the Cardinals (board).

Standards under this model are about important issues.

(1) Safety for children. Standards maintained, and local community is "communicated" with about how the Church protects the little ones.
(2) Heart: Can people see the "heart of Christ" in their church?
(3) Evangelization: Are the communities being evangelized....people outside the church are being contacted and taught about the Gospel
(4) Involvement: Are the congregations being given the opportunity to expand their experience and involvement in the Church. Do projects and programs lead to greater feeling of belonging and friendship, and do the activities enhance the Church and its community relationships.
(5) Operational and Financial Fitness review
etc.

The problems will diminish, only if the regional management feels it is being held to account for their behavior. Mini fiefdoms, without being monitored and that hide in the regions are no longer acceptable.

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