Dear Petition Signer,
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Please accept our gratitude for your support of the “People of God Respond” petition at www.PopeFrancisPetition.com. We are happy to report that in seven days the petition has amassed over 6,000 signatures.
When we authored the petition we knew that the allegations brought forward by Archbishop Viganò would produce a terrible grief among God’s faithful. Many would be embittered and some so scandalized as to lose their faith. Our intention was that this petition would give ordinary Catholics a concrete, positive and constructive outlet to express their feelings and their anguish, and then to organize and communicate this to the Holy Father.
While, naturally, we cannot anticipate the Holy Father’s response, the petition itself is having a profound impact. What has surprised us all is the effect of the petition on the clergy. Scores of clergy have signed, along with many religious sisters and brothers. The secretary of one bishop even messaged us and expressed the bishop’s thanks for the charitable and respectful language we used. The next day this bishop issued his own public statement calling for an investigation into the claims made by Archbishop Viganò.
This is exactly the kind of effect that we hoped to bring about!
Our expectation is that as the number of signatures increase, even more bishops will find the courage to speak out and demand to know the truth of Archbishop Viganò's allegations. As the number of bishops asking to know the truth increases, so will the scope and momentum of this movement. We have signed a petition, but have begun a movement in the Church.
The Code of Canon Law has concretely enshrined this belief in Canon 1556, which says: “The First See is judged by no one.”
Thus, there is no earthly authority that can force the Roman Pontiff to do anything he does not will. He answers only to God. The freedom of Christ’s Church requires that its visible Head on earth be free to make decisions, but not be forced into one. For this reason, we chose language that would appeal to the Holy Father’s spiritual paternity. We asked him to consider the pain these allegations have caused us and to assess honestly the current crisis the Church faces, and then to do what is necessary to end both.
While the petition does make reference to the authority that the People of God possess, it is an authority of children, not of parents. Nevertheless, we are confident that this approach will be taken much more seriously by both the ecclesiastical authorities who read it, as well as by Pope Francis himself.
What more can we do?
With grateful thanks in Our Lord Jesus,
The Authors of
The People of God Respond | 00120 Via del Pellegrino, Citta del Vaticano