In an open letter written to Pope Francis, a group of prominent Catholic women have asked the pope to respond to the “escalating” sex abuse crisis that is currently “engulfing” the Church.
The women ask Pope Francis if Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s detailed testimony regarding sex abuse being blatantly covered up by Vatican officials, including Francis himself, is true or not.
“We are Catholic women 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 write.
The women also ask the pope whether or not he knew about or lifted the sanctions that were reportedly imposed on him by Pope Benedict, and to publicly state when he learned of the “abhorrent” allegations against the now ex-Cardinal McCarrick.
“We, your flock, deserve your answers now,” the women’s letter reads. “The answers are surely known to you.” These are “devastating” allegations that have caused our hearts to be broken and faith tested, it adds. “To your hurting flock, Pope Francis, your words are inadequate. They sting.”
Be “honest with us. Please, do not turn from us,” they write.
The pope, while on a return flight from the pro-LGBT World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland on Sunday, refused to confirm or deny the allegations made by Archbishop Viganò. “I am not going to say a word about this,” he told a journalist from CBS.
“We are the mothers and sisters of your priests, seminarians, future priests and religious,” the letter reads. “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.”
As of the publishing of this article, 31,783 women have signed the letter to Pope Francis.
Some of the more well-known signatories of the letter include:
- Mary Rice Hasson, JD, Director of the Catholic Women’s Forum, Ethics and Public Policy Center
- Mary Hallan FioRito, Cardinal Francis George Fellow in Catholic Studies, Ethics and Public Policy Center
- Obianuju Ekeocha, Founder & President of Culture of Life Africa
- Professor Janet E. Smith, Professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit
- Kathryn Jean Lopez, Senior Fellow at the National Review Institute
- Carrie Gress, PhD, Author and Philosopher, Pontifex University
- Jennifer Fulwiler, Radio Host and Author
- Teresa Tomeo, Syndicated Catholic Talk Show Host
- Leah Darrow, Evangelist, Catholic author/speaker
- Ashley McGuire, The Catholic Association, Author
- Alexandra DeSanctis, Staff writer, National Review
“We are the people who sacrifice to fund the Church’s good work. We are the backbone of Catholic parishes, schools, and dioceses. We are the hands, the feet, and the heart of the Church. In short, we are the Church, every bit as much as the cardinals and bishops around you,” the women state in the letter.
“Please do not keep us at arm’s length on these questions,” the letter begs. “We are faithful daughters of the Church who need the truth so we can help rebuild. We are not second-class Catholics to be brushed off while bishops and cardinals handle matters privately. We have a right to know. We have a right to your answers.”
The letter supports calls for the claims put forth by Archbishop Viganò to be investigated, writing, “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.
Read the full letter written to the pope here.
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