Do you hear the people sing,
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.
Will you join in our crusade
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Les Misérables: Final Lyrics
To the barricades, my friends, to the barricades! Many of you have asked what can you do in light of the current revelations of this summer of shame in the Church? The first step is to make our expectations known of what must happen before more drastic actions are taken. So here are two expectations that must be meet:
The Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth (2002) must be immediately amended to stipulate that Bishops/Cardinals are subject to the same investigatory and disciplinary actions that priests and deacons in the US are currently subject to. The scope of the Charter needs to be expanded to include not only those credibly accused of abuse but those credibly accused of cover-up of such misconduct. An investigation of those Bishops/Cardinals who have been credibly accused of cover-up or concealment is to be instigated once the Charter is amended.
A full and independent investigation needs to be completed of the allegations made by the former US Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó.
If these demands are not met than further actions can be taken. But I think we should at least give the US Bishops time to act. Of course, #1 could be accomplished but not #2 or vice-versa. If that occurs than a different set of actions can be determined. The US Bishops have control over amending the Dallas Charter and they can do it voluntarily without official approval of an amended Charter from the Vatican. This is what the Catholic Bishops of England did to hold themselves accountable.
I would suggest this first step be taken by every lay person, namely to write to both Cardinal DiNardo, the current President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and to the current Nuncio in Washington, DC. This allows your voice to be heard and the expectations made clear.
His Excellency Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008-3610
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo
President of the USCCB
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
1700 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
There is also an on-line petition to Pope Francis you can sign: The People of God Respond: https://www.popefrancispetition.com
There is tremendous energy among the lay faithful right now and so I pray that the Holy Spirit will direct that energy so that all of you can rebuild the Church of Christ. It’s really in your hands. So, pray that you will act with justice and charity divorced from self-seeking, vengeance or hatred. Or to paraphrase the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln:
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the CHURCH’S wounds.
Love, Fr. John B.