IMPORTANT: Letter To Pope Francis From Catholic Women

I encourage all the women who read this blog to read and consider signing this Letter to Francis.

This is important.  I’ll post the text below, but you have to click the link and go to the site to sign.


NOTE: This letter reflects the personal initiative of the individual Catholic women signing this letter, and is not sponsored by any group or organization.

August 30, 2018

His Holiness, Pope Francis
Vatican City

Your Holiness: 

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.

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.

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.

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?

These are devastating allegations. As USCCB President Cardinal Daniel D. DiNardo recently stated, “The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.” We agree.

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.”

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.

Specifically, we humbly implore you to answer the following questions, as the answers are surely known to you. Archbishop Viganò says that in June 2013 he conveyed to you this message (in essence) about then-Cardinal McCarrick:

“He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.”

  • 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?

Holy Father, in your letter to the People of God on the scandals, you wrote: “An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.” That’s why we expect you, our Holy Father, to be honest with us.

Please do not turn from us. 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.

Please do not keep us at arm’s length on these questions. 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.

We 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.

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.


Holy Father, we are the “incisive presence” the Church needs, and we need your answers.


With love for Christ and the Church,

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. SusanMcE says:

    I first heard about this on the Patrick Madrid show yesterday morning. At the time I signed there were 953 signatures. This morning there are close to 15,000.
    Keep sharing! Keep signing!

  2. hwriggles4 says:

    Teresa Tomeo discussed this yesterday on Catholic Connection. I caught the tail end on my way to work. I am a guy, and ladies please take the time to read this. Over half the ministries at a parish are run by women – your clergy will appreciate your input.

    Ladies this issue is not about women’s ordination, married priests (although my parish has a Pastoral Provision priest), ABC, etc. It’s about putting the problem to bed, and throwing out the voices of dissent that have plagued our Churches for the last 50 years.

  3. Ariseyedead says:

    The “Women’s Dubia.” May it receive a better response than the one from the Cardinals.

  4. Dismas says:

    Please, do not stop here!

    Email and electronic petitions are often scoffed at by politicians. It takes little effort to sign and less to delete. Yes, aggregate numbers matter, but this is but the starting point.

    I suggest that all men and women of good will take the effort to write (type and print sure) a letter to your pastor, vicar, bishop(s), and to Pope Francis himself. Then, mail it. For bishops, you had better make it Certified Mail, “Restricted Delivery” is a must. Yes, the homosexualist secretaries will do whatever they can to insulate even a good bishop from reality, so take precautions.

    Some need letters of encouragement, some of criticism. Be polite and courteous, but make it clear that unchaste clergymen are no less scoundrels than unfaithful, deadbeat dads.

    Lastly, for those in need of a good scolding, write a check to the diocese of a faithful bishop, abby/friary/etc of a faithful superior, and photocopy it. Write that this money could have gone to you, were you doing your job. Oh, and send the check for real. No false witness.

  5. Therese says:

    The site appears to be down temporarily (or jammed with lots of traffic?). I’ll be signing all right.

  6. pray4truth says:

    It’s a great letter! I signed it and will encourage others to do the same. Given his history, IF he even acknowledges the letter, he’ll skirt it by offering one of his obtuse double-speak “answers” then continue to give some sunshiney message of how we need to be humble and nice, and, well, sunshiney. I hope I’m wrong. I can envision thousands of women at a papal audience demanding answers … wouldn’t THAT would be GREAT!?!

  7. Dan says:

    I pray that our Holy Father will set aside his ego for a few minutes to answer us lowly lay people. He is a very strict, rigid and proud man though so my hopes are a little reserved.

  8. Benedict Joseph says:

    There is also a petition in support of Archbishop Viganò available to sign at:
    Perhaps it serves only as token support, but as of this writing it indicates over 9,000 signatures.

  9. Simon_GNR says:

    This is a good letter – I wish I could sign it but my sex prevents me. I hope there is a proper response from Pope Francis. His attitude so far on this matter has been shameful: evasive, proud and unco-operative.

  10. seashoreknits says:

    Thanks for alerting us to this, Fr. Z
    As of this moment, its inching toward 20,000 signatures (19,233).

  11. clare joseph says:

    Yes, pray4truth, it WOULD be great.

  12. Bea says:

    I signed it yesterday.
    This afternoon it was over 21,000

  13. teachermom24 says:

    We don’t need more petitions; we need more prayer. I won’t sign the petition because 1) it will accomplish nothing; 2) it smacks of attempted “democratization” of the Catholic Church; and 3) it is poorly written, way too long, and is not how I would write to the Holy Father. It’s not my place to advise the Holy Father, only to pray for him and our beloved Church.

  14. Malta says:

    I think I remember a certain St. Catherine who outed a false pope. Women can enact major change in the Church.

  15. Bea says:

    At midnight 8/31 is now 22,836

  16. Lizzy says:

    I signed it. Currently working on letters to mail to the bishops.

  17. Nan says:

    I got that from a professor at St Paul Seminary, via the Siena Symposium

  18. maternalView says:

    So maybe the petitions don’t do anything (so then there’s no harm in me signing anyway). BUT it does something for the original signatories. They put their name and careers on the line. If nothing else by signing I support them.

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