Another Open Letter to His Holiness

Your Holiness,

I do not trust you because you have misinterpreted what the moment demanded of you, from Day One.

Your predecessors gave us the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Out here in the parishes, we did not languish in doubt regarding the teachings of the Church. We did not hanker for verbose Roman Synods. To the contrary, on the day you took office, our parishes were humming with the business of communicating the teachings of the Church, contained in the Catechism.

We did not need a “new pastoral paradigm” to govern the relations between priests and their people. What we needed–it is now painfully obvious–was greater discipline in the ranks of bishops, and in the Vatican.

In the US, we have suffered a crippling scandal. All of it is attributable to the negligence of bishops, including yourself. The documents that scandalized people in Pennsylvania–all of them had been in the custody of the bishops there for twenty years or more. And bishops, including you, knew about Theodore McCarrick. Only you bishops had the authority to do anything about him.

Holy Father, you have spoken over and over again about the primacy of mercy. You misinterpreted what the moment demanded. For over a generation, no one has had any doubt that the Church knows how to act with mercy. The obvious problem we have is: the Church has forgotten how to act with severity. How can you not see that your former-Cardinal-Priest Theodore McCarrick has–in his brazen recklessness–exposed this colossal weakness?

What did the moment demand, when the first of McCarrick’s brother bishops learned of his predations? Mercy? Hardly. What did the moment demand, when you learned of it? Mercy? No. The moment demanded the just application of strict rules.

Do you not see how desperately the Church needs a severe father right now? A fearless and exacting enforcer of rules. A man whom sinners behold, and tremble.

Holy Father, by the year 2013, we parish priests–at least in the US–had made good headway in restoring order to parochial life. You have sat on the Chair of Peter for five and a-half years since then, and there is less discipline, less accountability, and less openness in the Vatican than when you arrived. There is less discipline, less accountability, and less openness in the Vatican–not to mention all the diocesan chanceries I know–than there is in the typical American parish.

You have gravely misjudged what the times demanded of you, Holy Father.


Your Son in Christ, Father Mark White


11 thoughts on “Another Open Letter to His Holiness

  1. One letter taken down and another and better letter to replace it. You stand tall for us, Father. I pray for you and with you.
    Let sin be sin and all judged accordingly.

  2. Dear Bishop Barry ,
    Thank you for your Mass of Atonement. I pray our contriton and prayers and sacrifices will bring healing and peace. You have a terribly difficult job and I pray for you to direct with wisdom and humilty your new diocesan flock.
    Please do not ask for silence from your brother priest(s) or your people on this. Our vocations and our faith require us to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to seek what is true and to employ the gifts we have in the service of God and our fellow man. We must stand for Christ and His church now or everything that I have taught my children to believe about their church and their faith being about truth and love and doing what is right even if you risk losing favor with others becomes suspect. Right now we need clarity and absolute transparency, not polite silence from our parish pastors.
    Your daughter in Christ,

  3. When you care about other people, you explain to them how they can be better.

    When you do not care, you find reasons to be quiet.

    Thank you for caring about others, and may God bless you, Father White.

  4. Right on, Father. If all Priests spoke out like you, maybe this mess would finally end or at least be dealt with harshly. Love you, Lori

  5. This is my very first comment on your blog. But I was an avid reader for your blog for months. Studied everything you preach, practised and recommended it.Most impoprtant point is choosing words

  6. Dear Fr. Mark,

    The accusatory, confrontational tone of this open letter to our Pope -” …the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity etc …” (as the Catechism teaches) saddens me.

    I have no doubt the Church in the USA is hurting badly with the actions of clergy and bishops. The whole body of Christ is bleeding and we need to find a way to stop the haemorrhage, heal the wounds. bind the broken hearts, and bring wholeness again.

    I don’t know what you feel or know about the case, but from what I have read, Cardinal George Pell’s case seems to be purely a witch hunt and act of revenge against the institution of the Church. I think it was pure bias and prejudice and desire to show that action is being taken that worked against him.

    Again, I do not also know the ground situation in the US, but in my mind, insider stabs and jabs at the Vicar of Christ can only serve to incite further ‘outsider’ violence and renewed effects and witch hunts to destroy the Church.

    This does not mean that we have to blindly follow and accept everything that is happening, but we can voice our opinions with love and purity of emotions to protect the body of Christ rather than desire to stand out and say we are not part of it all for we are all united in the Body – even though the Body is bruised, disfigured and appears not to have any form or comeliness about it.

    I pray that the Body of Christ will be purified again and will stand strong against the forces of evil that are shaking its foundations. And I pray for the Vicar of Christ for discernment in steering the bark of St. Peter through the turbulent waters of our times.

    Blessings for your ministry and pursuit of truth.

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