A Suggested Letter to Your Priest or Bishop

I have been associated with a group that has been meeting weekly to study discipleship since May of this year. With all that has happened concerning sexual abuse, Cardinal McCarrick and related issues, our group has detoured some from our original purpose in order to discuss the state of affairs in the Catholic Church. Eventually, the group decided to invite our pastor to join us for a frank discussion, with the hope that the conversation would help us individually and as a group discern how we might take action to address the Church’s problems.

Here is a draft of our letter. We encourage you to use it, edited or not, for yourself or for a group of which you are a member. So copy it, paste it, edit it or just use it as inspiration for what you and people you know would like to communicate to your shepherds.

Dear Pastor:

Our [describe group] Group has been meeting since ______ of this year. In addition to our normal activities, the events that have taken place in the Catholic Church in recent months have also been the subject of our study and discussion.

Without getting into all the details, the basic concern of our group is that there appears to be an overall lack of accountability in the culture of Catholic clergy. In addition to a lack of adequate vigilance regarding sexual abuse and homosexual behavior on the part of clergy, the clergy have generally been passive with respect to a number of other issues: couples cohabiting outside marriage, Catholic married couples receiving Holy Communion despite not following the Church’s teachings on contraception, Catholic politicians supporting abortion rights, the frequency of annulments of marriage and the overall confusion of many Catholics on other moral issues.  It seems to us that our clergy could be providing helpful clarifications on documents and statements issued by Pope Francis and which are additional sources of confusion.

 Our group wishes to meet with you to have an open discussion about the issue of clergy accountability. We strongly desire your wisdom and advice. As do many Catholics, we have a desire to take action in some way, yet we want to make sure we have received the full benefit of your perspectives on the various specific issues that concern us. 

Please let us know if you would be willing to meet with us and when such a meeting might take place.