WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Concerned Catholics will rally in front of the Papal Ambassador’s residence in the nation’s capital on Saturday to deliver a strong message to the Holy See that the Church needs a “worthy shepherd” to oversee the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
While Pope Francis has accepted Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s resignation from that post, Wuerl continues to serve as the Archdiocese’s Apostolic Administrator until the Vatican appoints a successor.
Washington’s last two archbishops – Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl and former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick – have sparked deep regret and suspicion among many in the Archdiocese of Washington and beyond.
Cardinal Wuerl put on full public display his attempts to obfuscate the truth about what he knew about the homosexual predatory behavior of his predecessor, McCarrick, whose laicization is expected to be announced by the Holy See within the next 48 hours.
As a result, the Vatican’s track record of recent appointments to the important Washington post has left lay Catholics and clergy wary of the Holy See’s next choice.
Rumors out of the Vatican that Newark’s Cardinal Joseph W.Tobin had been a front-runner to succeed Wuerl exacerbated those fears. Tobin most likely owes his cardinalate to McCarrick’s patronage, and has proved himself supportive of those who seek to normalize homosexuality within the Catholic Church.
Catholic Laity for Orthodox Bishops and Reform (Catholic Laity) will rally at the Papal Nunciature (Massachusetts Avenue and 34th St. N.W. in Washington) on Saturday, February 16, at 2 p.m.
Additionally, the group has a longer term goal of establishing a permanent means of communicating effectively with the U.S. hierarchy and the Holy See about Catholic life in the United States.
Catholic Laity seeks“to advance communication with the Holy See, which is in the process of selecting a new archbishop for Washington, Catholic Laity.” The group “has already written four times to the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, in October, November, December, and January to request a meeting to discuss the appointment of a new archbishop,” according to a press release.
“No reply has been received, although Archbishop Pierre made a point in his address to all U.S. Bishops on November 12 that ‘there can be no question that the insights of experts, the contributions of time and professional skill of all the faithful, laity together with the clergy … are critical to carrying out our mission as shepherds. Assistance is both welcomed and necessary, and surely collaboration with the laity is essential,” the statement continued.
“At the rally, we will say, “HERE WE ARE. TALK TO US,” declared the organizers of the event.
The group is led by Donna Bethell, a prominent Catholic laywoman who until recently served as chairman of Christendom College's Board of Directors and was an Under Secretary in the U.S. Department of Energy from 1988 to 1989.
“I want to emphasize that this is not just about the appointment of the next Archbishop of Washington, although that is our immediate concern,” Bethell previously told LifeSiteNews. “We are building an effective means of communicating with one another and therefore, as a group, with the hierarchy. We don't have any way of doing this, so the laity need to get organized. We have a huge job to do. The recovery of holiness in the clergy will not happen without the insistence and example of the laity.”
“Even (if) you are not a resident of the Archdiocese of Washington, even if you are not a resident of the United States, this matters to you,” wrote Bethell in an October letter. “The Cardinal Archbishop of Washington is necessarily a leading prelate in the nation and in the whole Church. His voice will be heard and it can make a difference in the issues of faith and morals that are facing our Church today. We need a strong advocate of the Faith in this crucial position.”
Dr. Maike Hickson, a Vatican observer, author, and journalist, echoed Bethell’s concerns last fall:
This appointment is important not only for the residents of the Archdiocese of Washington. The Cardinal Archbishop of Washington is necessarily a leading prelate in the nation and in the whole Church. His voice will be heard and it can make a difference in the issues of faith and morals that are facing our Church today. We need a strong advocate of the Faith in this crucial position.