Earlier today, lay Catholic women published an open letter to Pope Francis, in which they urged him to provide clarity regarding the recent allegations from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about Pope Francis’ knowledge of the Catholic Church sex abuse. More than 10,000 Catholic women have signed onto the letter since it was published earlier today.
The letter begins by emphasizing the damage caused by both the abuse itself and the subsequent cover-ups:
Our hearts are broken, our faith tested, by the escalating crisis engulfing our beloved Church. We are angry, betrayed and disillusioned. The pain and suffering of the victims never ends, as each news cycle brings more horrific revelations of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, cover-ups, and deceit—even at the Church’s highest levels.
The letter then refers to Archbishop Viganò’s recent testimony and Pope Francis’ response, in which he declined to provide direct answers:
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s recent statement impels us to reach out to you directly for answers. His testimony accuses you, Holy Father, and highly placed cardinals of turning a blind eye to former Cardinal McCarrick’s egregious behavior, and promoting this predator as a global spokesman and spiritual leader. Is this true?
Several crucial questions raised by Archbishop Viganò’s statement, however, require neither lengthy investigations nor physical evidence. They require only your direct response, Holy Father. When reporters questioned you recently about Archbishop Viganò’s charges, you replied, “I will not say a single word on this.” You told reporters to “read the statement carefully and make your own judgment.”
The women criticize the lack of accountability and urge the pope to to provide “leadership, truth, and transparency”:
To your hurting flock, Pope Francis, your words are inadequate. They sting, reminiscent of the clericalism you so recently condemned. We need leadership, truth, and transparency. We, your flock, deserve your answers now.
The women then ask Pope Francis to answer three specific questions:
Is this true? What did Archbishop Viganò convey to you in June 2013 about then-Cardinal McCarrick?
When did you learn of any allegations of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct with adults by then-Cardinal McCarrick?
When did you learn of Pope Benedict’s restrictions on then-Cardinal McCarrick? And did you release then-Cardinal McCarrick from any of Pope Benedict’s restrictions?
Alexandra DeSanctis is a National Review staff writer who has covered the abuse extensively and who recently joined RedState assistant editor Andrea Ruth and senior contributor Kimberly Ross on The Right Side podcast to discuss the Church’s sexual abuse. She tweeted that the letter proved, contrary to how some organizations have covered the abuse, that the only things Catholics want are honesty and accountability.
This letter to Pope Francis has been public for only a few hours and it has already gotten the signatures of nearly 6,000 Catholic women. This is not a right-wing vendetta or an effort to overthrow the pope. Faithful Catholics want answers. https://t.co/ZNlCXjfI66
— Alexandra DeSanctis (@xan_desanctis) August 30, 2018
The Catholic hierarchy has attempted to change the subject in recent days, but, as RedState contributor Jim Jamitis wrote, “the denial and hesitation never brings about a better situation.” As this letter shows, the Catholic laity are not willing to stay silent, and they are demanding their leaders take accountability and show leadership.
The full letter is available here.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.