A plea to the Pope for help

Barbara Kralis
January 25, 2007
Reproduced with Permission

Of the many attacks against the Catholic Church today, most all come from members within the Church. In fact, reports from Rome indicate that the Pope is isolated and resisted at the Vatican. Phil Lawler of Catholic World News translates Italian journalist Ignazio Ingrao as saying. "The Pontiff has faced stiff resistance in his effort to reform the Roman Curia and to broaden access to the traditional Mass."[1]

To add to the Pope’s suffering there is the gravity of scandal caused by a large majority of U.S. Cardinals and Bishops who aid and abet hundreds of U.S. ‘Catholic’ politicians, both Democrat and Republican, in their support of abortion while continuing sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion.

Because the Pope has no prisons for disobedient hierarchy, the Catholic faithful have no other recourse than to write en masse to the Pope regarding out-of-control U.S. bishops such as Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.

Do you agree that Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. should obediently enforce Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law as the Vatican has explicitly instructed all bishops to do? If you agree, would you be willing to write the Pope a letter, asking him not to appoint activist Archbishop Wuerl to the College of Cardinals? Then, perhaps, Archbishop Wuerl would become obedient to the Pope. Why reward a disobedient Archbishop who gives scandal to millions of faithful?

I will show you at the bottom of this column how there is a way our letters might actually be read by the Pope.

This is an important time for such a letter writing campaign. There is usually a consistory of the Cardinals called by the Pope in February or in June for the purpose of naming new Cardinals. Usually, an Archbishop will not receive the red hat as long as the previous Cardinal is still alive [in this case, that would be Cardinal Theodore McCarrick]. However, Washington, D.C. is too important a Cardinal 'See' for the Pope not to make an exception to the usual practice.

Therefore, a letter writing campaign to the Holy Father may be most effective at this time, explaining why you believe Archbishop Wuerl’s disobedience should not be rewarded with the red hat of a Cardinal.

Below is a wealth of information or 'talking points' that you could use in your letter to the Pope. However, we must discipline ourselves to keep the letter brief and concise, preferably one page in length.

June 22, 2006 Installation Mass of Archbishop Donald Wuerl as Archbishop of Washington at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C. Archbishop Wuerl, left, distributing Holy Communion as Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican’s Apostolic Papal Nuncio to the United States, gives Holy Communion to pro-abortion politician Senator John Kerry.

Also provided herein are very helpful, substantiated hyperlinks. Each of these links could be printed out and attached to your letter to the Pope, if you so desire.

It is important that we keep our letter to the Pope very polite and kind. Our letter should show it is written by a faithful Catholic who has grave concerns regarding Archbishop Donald Wuerl's disobedience.

Here are the talking points. Use some or all of these points in your letter to the Pope:

- Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington recently told journalist Allyson Smith that he would not discipline nor deny Holy Communion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, nor to other Catholic politicians who promote and legislate procured abortion.[2] Wuerl knows well that Pelosi, a dissident Catholic who calls herself a ‘conservative Catholic,’ has repeatedly voted 100% to uphold abortion and abortion of partially born children who are up to 9-months of age in the womb, as well as voted against parental notification when minor girls seek murderous abortions.[3]

Congressman Nancy Pelosi told reporters during a 2004 press conference:

“I fully intend to receive Communion, one way or another. That’s very important to me…. I believe that my position on choice [abortion on demand] is one that is consistent with my Catholic upbringing, which said that every person has a free will and has the responsibility to live their lives in a way that they would have to account for in the end. I’m certainly concerned when the Church comes together and says it’s going to sanction people in public office for speaking their conscience and what they believe.” [4]

- Archbishop Wuerl recently told reporters it is his policy that those who are manifestly [publicly] obstinate and persistent in their grave sins are not to be disciplined but are to be catechised in the faith.

- Pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ congressman Nancy Pelosi departs Notre Dame Chapel at Trinity University in Washington, D.C. after her sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion. Mass celebrant was dissident priest, Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J.

- How is it that Archbishop Wuerl can refuse to discipline Nancy Pelosi? He is in obstinate opposition to Cardinal Ratzinger's [now Pope Benedict XVI] Eucharistic instruction to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB] during their June 2004 Denver conference. Entitled 'Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,' Cd. Ratzinger warned the U.S. Bishops regarding pro-abortion politicians trying to receive the Eucharist sacrilegiously: "The minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it." Cardinal Ratzinger did not say 'could,' or 'may,' but that the minister 'must' refuse to give it.[5]

- It is time for U.S. Catholic laity to ask the Pope if Archbishop Wuerl can continue to ignore what His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect for The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, strongly warned the U.S. bishops in April 2004, that a pro-abortion politician "is not fit" to receive Holy Communion, adding, "If they should not receive, then they should not be given."

- ‘Inside the Vatican’ magazine interviewed Francis Cardinal Arinze, asking the question: “Should those Catholic pro-choice politicians be given Holy Communion?” Cardinal Arinze answered:

“You are asking me if a politician says, ‘I vote for abortion, and I will continue to ask for abortion.’ Then you ask, should he or she be given Holy Communion… My reply is, do you really need a Cardinal from the Vatican to answer that question. Can a child having made his First Communion not answer that question? Is it really so complicated? The child will give the correct answer immediately, unless he is conditioned by political correctness. It is a pity Cardinals have to be asked such questions.”[6]

- In June 2004, Bishop Donald Wuerl, then Bishop of Pittsburgh, was a member of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s Ad Hoc Committee that drafted the USCCB's Denver Spring Meeting statement regarding denying manifest grave sinners of the Eucharist. The Committee statement falsely told the all bishops that Cardinal Ratzinger [now Pope Benedict] left it up to the USCCB whether to deny the gravely manifest sinner the Eucharist. The instruction from Cd. Ratzinger “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion” that the minister ‘must deny’ the Eucharist was not incorporated into the Ad Hoc Committee’s statement:

“On the question of calls for denying Communion or public calls for refraining from Communion, our conference is not united, with several bishops sincerely convinced this is necessary and many others who do not support such actions…. I would emphasize that Cardinal Ratzinger clearly leaves to us as teachers, pastors, and leaders WHETHER [sic] to pursue this path. The Holy See has repeatedly expressed its confidence in our roles as bishops and pastors. The question for us is not simply whether denial of Communion is possible, but whether it is pastorally wise and prudent. It is not surprising that difficult and differing circumstances on these matters can lead to different practices. Every bishop is acting in accord with his own understanding of his duties and the law.”

- For the past several years, the USCCB has denied ‘Rainbow Sashers’ from receiving Holy Communion. These are persons publicly wearing the ‘gay and lesbian’ rainbow colors and who either live the ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ lifestyle or who promote it. Why is it that the USCCB will not deny public politicians promoting and legislating procured abortion from receiving Holy Communion? Is not murder of the child just as evil as sodomite lust in the eyes of God?

- In August 2005, as Bishop of Pittsburg, Wuerl released a statement entitled: “Episcopal Pastoral Decisions and Ecclesial Communion.” In his statement, Bishop Wuerl called for all bishops of the USCCB to consult with each other on ‘controversial issues’ before taking individual action. Then, having arrived at a majority consensus, a decision would be imposed by the USCCB upon all bishops. Wuerl’s statement clearly confronted Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis, and 11 other active U.S. diocesan bishops, plus 2 inactive bishops. Out of the 226 dioceses in the U.S., only 14 diocesan bishops publicly stated they must deny the Eucharist to persons who obstinately persist in their grave manifest sins.[7] In other words, the 14 active diocesan bishops who opposed Holy Communion for persons who were persistent and obstinate in their grave manifest sins caused real difficulties for the other 212 active diocesan bishops. In addition, Bishop Wuerl's proposed statement wrongfully intended to silence and restrain those 14 faithful bishops in their own Sees, especially during a time when the Catholic Church in America desperately needs for its bishops to not be afraid to lead.

- Bishop Rene Gracida and Fr. J. Patrick Serna wrote a most revealing essay entitled ‘A Mechanism for Restraint: An Analysis of a Proposal To Rein in Activist Bishops.’ The well-documented and important essay explains Archbishop Wuerl's statement as a source of confusion couched in obfuscating language and an attempt to silence faithful bishops.

- Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law definitely teaches the person who is persistently obstinate in his or her grave manifest sin must be denied the Eucharist.[8]

- Archbishop Raymond Burke, Juris Canonis Doctor, [9] Archbishop of St. Louis, told this writer in a recent interview:

"When a 'Catholic' pro-abortion politician knows the actions he or she has taken are gravely sinful in a public matter like supporting and legislating abortion, the only way to uphold church teaching is to withhold Holy Communion from them. It is not right for one bishop to give the Eucharist and for another not to, according to Canon Law, Canon 915."[10]

- Canon Law expert Archbishop Raymond Burke said: "Canon 915 is not an option. Those persons who obstinately persist in grave manifest sin after having been spoken to by their bishop, must be denied the Eucharist."

- The period of time that it takes a bishop to privately warn the sinner is relatively short, a matter of days or weeks. A letter is sent to the obstinate sinner in question, asking to meet with the bishop who will clarify the church's teachings and remind the manifest sinner he or she is jeopardizing the life of their eternal soul. If the sinner refuses to meet with the bishop, the bishop further informs the public sinner of the gravity of his or her actions. If the sinner still remains obstinate and persists in his or her mortal sin in a manifest way, then the bishop notifies his priests and deacons that the sinner should be denied Holy Communion. The catechesis of the faith will continue from the Bishop to the sinner for however long it takes, but until the public sinner's public conversion, the Eucharist is to be denied.

- If Archbishop Wuerl remains disobedient, the result will be the continued disintegration of the Catholic Church's infallible teachings regarding the right to life for the unborn.

- In a recent address, Archbishop Burke spoke about the importance of causing scandal to others: "So serious is the moral obligation to avoid scandal that we are admonished not only not to do wrong but also not to appear to do wrong. When a person acts, he or she must always consider the appearance of the act to be done."

- Recently, Fr. Tom Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, a prominent worldwide pro-life organization, told LifeSite.com: "I don't believe Archbishop Wuerl is doing his job," and that Ms. Pelosi should be excommunicated.[11]

For this work of letter writing to be effective, Pope Benedict himself must read the letters. With a billion Catholics in the world, you can see the problem one has; it is simply impossible for the Pope to see, much less read, the thousands of letters that pour into the Vatican every day addressed to him. Letters addressed to the Pope that are not from a bishop get delivered at the office of the Secretary of State where they are read by monsignors and are answered by the Office of the Secretary of State or are delivered to the Nuncio to be answered by him or are delivered to the Ordinary of the diocese of the writer to be answered by him.

Monsignor Georg Gäenswein, private secretary to Pope Benedict XVI.

I have reasons to believe that a letter written to the Pope concerning Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, enclosed in an envelope addressed to the Pope's private secretary, Monsignor Georg Gäenswein, would in fact reach the pope. In addition, within the same envelope addressed to Monsignor Gäenswein, wisely write a separate and very short request to Monsignor Gäenswein, 'begging' him to give your enclosed letter to the Pope. When the Monsignor reads your polite letter to the Pope, it may compel him to give the Pope your letter.

For all that I have read and have been told about how mail delivery works at the Vatican, I believe that mail addressed to Monsignor Gäenswein actually reaches Monsignor Gäenswein. Therefore, may I repeat, we should address the outside envelope to Monsignor Gäenswein, put our concise letter to the Pope [including any attachments you have printed out] in the same envelope, and lastly include a short request to Monsignor Gäenswein begging him to give your letter to the Pope.

Be sure to put the following postage to Italy on your envelope:

Up to 1 oz. = $ .84

Up to 2 oz. = $l.70

Up to 3 oz. = $2.55

Up to 4 oz. = $3.35

Up to 5 oz. = $4.20

Up to 6 oz. = $5.05

Up to 7 oz. = $5.90

Up to 8 oz. = $6.75

Address your envelope to:

Msgr. Georg Gäenswein

Private Secretary to Holy Father

00120 Via del Pellegrino

Citta del Vaticano

Note bene: Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said: “Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”[12]


Barbara Kralis, the article's author, writes for various Christian and conservative publications. Her columns have been featured at RenewAmerica.us, Catholic World Report, Catholic World News, Alliance Defense Fund, Intellectual Conservative, LifeIssues.net, LifeSite.com, Catholic Culture.org, The Wanderer newspaper, New Oxford Review, Phil Brennan's WOW, MichNews, ChronWatch, North Carolina Conservative, Catholic Citizens, Illinois Family Institute, and others. She and her husband, Mitch, live in the great State of Texas. She can be reached at: AveMaria@earthlink.net


© 2007 Barbara Kralis


[1] “Vaticano, Guerra per bande,” by Ignazio Ingrao, 1/12/07, published by Panorama.it. Cf “Curia resists papal policies,” Catholic World News, 1/19/07. Cf “Benedict seen as isolated at Vatican,” by John Phillips, The Washington Times, 1/21/07. [Back]

[2] Cf. “HLI Leader Says: “I don’t believe Archbishop Wuerl is doing his job,” 1/16/07, LifeSite.net [Back]

[3] Cf. “A Look at Pelosi’s Voting Record,” 11/3/06, WashingtonTimes.com. [Back]

[4] Cf. “Pelosi says she’ll take Communion in spite of Vatican policies,” 4/29/04, USAToday.com. [Back]

[5] Cf “Cardinal Ratzinger said, ‘The minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.’ He did not say ‘could’ or ‘may’ but that he ‘must,’” by Barbara Kralis, 6/6/04, RenewAmerica.us. [Back]

[6] Cf “Inside the Vatican Interview: What will be the Consequences of the Synod?” 11/12/05, Pub. By Inside the Vatican Magazine, by Andrew Rabel [Back]

[7] The list of 12 active and 2 retired Archbishops and Bishops and their dioceses: [Back]

Archbishop Raymond L Burke of St. Louis, MO

Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln NE

Bishop Joseph A. Galante of Camden, NJ

Bishop John M. Smith of Trenton, NJ

Bishop Michael Sheridan, Colorado Springs, CO

Bishop Robert F. Vasa of Baker, OR

Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger of Evansville, IN

Bishop Robert J. Baker, Charleston, SC

Bishop Peter J. Jugis Bishop of Charlotte, NC

Bishop John Y. Yanta, Bishop of Amarillo, TX

Bishop Samuel Aquila, Fargo, ND

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Phoenix, AZ


Bishop Henry Rene Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, TX

Archbishop John F. Donoghue Archbishop of Atlanta, GA

[8] Code of Canon Law, Canon 915 states: “Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Cf “A Primer on Canon 915,” by Barbara Kralis, 2/5/04, Catholic.org. [Back]

[9] The highest degree of education in Canon Law is the J.C.D. [Juris Canonis doctor, Doctor of Canon Law], which would apply to Archbishop Raymond Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis. [Back]

[10] Cf “Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, the new ‘John Fisher’” [Back]

RenewAmerica.us, 8/5/04, by Barbara Kralis

[11] Cf. “HLI Leader Says ‘I don’t believe Archbishop Wuerl is doing his job,’” 1/16/07, LifeSite.com. [Back]

[12] Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, address to the Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus on 6/72. [Back]