NOTE: This letter reflects the personal initiative of the individual Catholic men signing it. Professional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. This letter is not sponsored by any group or organization. Signers are encouraged to engage traditional fasts involving food and/or drink, but the exact nature of each signer’s fast is a matter of individual discretion. Signers are encouraged to undertake a difficult but not overly burdensome fast.
September 5, 2018
Dear Holy Father and Bishops of the United States:
As Catholic laymen, we are faithful husbands, fathers, business leaders, lawyers, tradesmen, medical doctors, professors, teachers, artists, and leaders of Catholic lay apostolates. But most fundamentally, we are men in love with Christ and His Church, and it is for this reason that we beseech you to purge the corruption which has so grotesquely disfigured the face of Christ’s Bride. The present scandals have placed our wives, sisters, brothers, and children in danger. Therefore, echoing the words St. Catherine of Siena addressed to Pope Gregory XI, we beseech you to “sleep no longer, and raise the standard [of Christ] courageously.” The Church needs purification, and by virtue of your offices as our shepherds, no one is more qualified to bring about this purification than yourselves. We beg you to do so without a moment’s delay.
Taking courage from St. Paul, and knowing that “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rm 5:20), we are appalled by the recent abuses. We have read of the allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick; the grand jury report regarding the Church in Pennsylvania; the horrific abuse in Honduras and Chile; and the rampant reports of clerical homosexual activity, pedophilia, and ephebophilia throughout the global presbytery. Most recently, we have read Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony alleging that bishops in senior leadership positions within both the Holy See and the United States have covered up sexual abuse, evidencing widespread and systemic corruption throughout the Church’s hierarchy.
Holy Father, we come to you for answers. You personally have been faced with allegations. These allegations have been leveled by a high-ranking church official, Archbishop Viganò. Further, many bishops in the United States have publicly stated that they believe these allegations should be investigated. We implore you to address them. Specifically, we request that you answer the questions posed by our sisters in their letter to you, issued on August 30, 2018.
Moreover, regardless of the veracity of Archbishop Viganò’s allegations, our concerns about corruption remain. Your Holiness, Your Eminences, and Your Excellencies: Amidst widespread global abuse, coverups, and hierarchical failure, what are you doing and what will you do to protect the people of God? We urge you to answer this simple question because the cost of the episcopal corruption is catastrophic. At present, many families are reluctant to send their sons to seminary. Efforts at evangelization have been crippled. And distrust from donors jeopardizes the Church’s ability to serve the poor, promote environmental stewardship, and carry out works of mercy. One Catholic mother has said that this crisis will either reinvigorate the Church or cause an exodus. We beg you to encourage reinvigoration through radical purification, realizing that you are at risk of losing credibility in the eyes of millions of Catholics.
Holy Father, we are personally committed to our own purity and the purification of the Church. We are reminded of the words of our Lord in John 8:7: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” All sin, including our own, weakens the Church. As men, we must all have the strength to seek the Lord’s healing. For this reason, we will begin with ourselves, examining our own consciences and renewing our own commitment to chastity. We will work to build up our own families, especially our sons, and our own communities. Further, the signers of this letter commit to serious and difficult fasting for the next seventeen Fridays, beginning this Friday, September 7 through the end of the calendar year. We will not relent. We will embrace suffering as penance for our own sins and the sins of the Church. We desire nothing more than to become saints amidst scandal.
Holy Father and Bishops of the United States, we plead for justice for the victims of abuse. We add our voices to those of the bishops who have called for an investigation of the Church hierarchy, both in our own country and in the Vatican. This investigation should be carried out by faithful lay men and women. Further, we encourage other groups to make their voices heard by writing more letters of this nature.
Finally, we praise our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His abundant mercy founded the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We affirm our hope for the future of the Church. We ask you to be courageous and not afraid. We affirm our affection and gratitude for the holy priests and bishops who have served us faithfully as stewards of the mysteries of Christ. The Church’s history has seen many seasons. Nevertheless, after the dark season of winter comes spring, and we pray that the difficulties of the present time will be surpassed by the victories to come. Trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ, we have full confidence that the light of the Holy Trinity will break through this present darkness revealing the full beauty of our beloved Church.
We promise our lives, our talents, and our resources for the purification and renewal of the Catholic Church. Relying on the intercession of the Blessed Mother, we will fight for this cause to the very end.
Your sons and brothers in Christ,