His Eminence Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re
Congregation for Bishops
Piazza Pio XII 10
00193 Rome, Italy
Dear Cardinal Re:
I have been following with great interest the “apostolic visitation” of the nuns in the United States and the “doctrinal assessment” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (“LCWR”). In my view the actions of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (“USCCB”) and the individual American bishops in connection with the tragic and ongoing sexual abuse scandal are much more serious, pose a much greater threat to the life of the Church in the United States and call for an apostolic visitation and doctrinal assessment much more urgently than do the American nuns and LCWR.
I am well aware of the visitation that has been conducted of American seminaries with respect to the scandal. But I also know about the tragic waste of Church resources caused by the sex abuse: in the United States alone, more than $2 billion in settlements and uncounted millions in time and treasure have been expended in dealing with, as well as failing to deal with, the scandal. We also know that this waste was caused not just by the perpetrators of these crimes, but also by the bishops and other Church leaders who enabled them and who placed higher priority on the “public image” of the institutional Church than on the welfare of victims and the safety of children. Yet there has been no apostolic visitation to the USCCB or to any of the individual American bishops to evaluate their actions and inactions, their management and mismanagement, their disclosures and their coverups with respect to this scandal.l.
Therefore, I join other members of Voice of the Faithful by requesting that an apostolic visitation of the USCCB and the individual American Bishops be undertaken at the earliest possible moment to investigate (i) how the Bishops dealt with the allegations of criminal activity by clerics, (ii) how the Bishops ignored or downplayed the needs of victims of such criminal activity, (iii) how the Bishops covered up criminal conduct by perpetrators and mismanagement by Bishops, (iv) how the Bishops failed to police themselves or exercise “fraternal correction” of each other in their handling of these matters, (v) how the actions and omissions of so many Bishops led to further criminal activity by perpetrators, and (vi) how the secrecy surrounding the whole scandalous affair has undermined and damaged the credibility of Church leadership in the eyes of faithful Catholics and in the eyes of the world as a whole.
I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply to my request.
Very truly yours,