Thousands of Catholic women have signed an open letter to Pope Francis, demanding he speak out immediately regarding the allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
As of this article’s publishing, the petition had more than 19,000 signatures.
The letter begins with words from the pontiff himself, recalling when he admitted it’s important the Catholic Church seek “a more incisive female presence” because 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,” he said in January 2015.
You have said that..'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."https://t.co/yof1RTMLfA
— Mary Rezac (@maryrezac) August 30, 2018
Now these thousands of women are calling on Francis to act on his words by taking a clear stand against the sexual abuse of boys, girls, women, and men.
“We write to you, Holy Father, to pose questions that need answers,” the letter states, specifically asking the pontiff to speak out on the allegations leveled in Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony.
Last week, Viganò published a 7,000-word essay, in which he accused Francis of covering up allegations against McCarrick, claiming the leader of the Catholic Church has been aware of the disgraced cardinal’s alleged behavior since 2013.
The pope was asked over the weekend if he knew about McCarrick, as Viganò alleges, but rather than deny — or confirm — the claim, he simply refused to answer.
“Read the statement carefully and make your own judgement,” he said. “I will not say a single word about this. I believe the statement speaks for itself.”
The women’s letter to the pope read, in part:
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.
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.
The plea concluding by asking Francis to “not keep us at arm’s length on these questions” because they are “faithful daughters of the Church who need the truth so we can help rebuild.”