Letter to Bishop Franklin

Catholics for Spiritual Healing
October 6, 2004

Dear Bishop Franklin:

We have come together to express our deep concerns about your possible plans to seek bankruptcy protection for church assets. At a bare minimum, we respectfully urge you to delay any such decision for several months, and spend that time in genuine dialogue with Davenport Catholics about the needs of all parties involved: victims, lay people, clergy, and parish employees.

For you to rush into court at this point, without any real consultation with or explanation to your flock, we feel would be unwise, unjust, and unhealthy.

Just a few weeks ago, Pope John Paul spoke publicly of a crisis of confidence "in the institutional leadership of the American church." He talked of the need for a shared responsibility "between the lay faithful and the hierarchy." We hope you will listen to and embrace his call for greater collaboration within the body of the Church.

Last week you gathered a small group of parish financial officers from across the diocese. You briefly talked with them about possible bankruptcy. We applaud you for taking that step. But in the interest of openness and transparency, which you and your brother bishops have promised, we beg you to go further, and enable your flock and your staff from across the entire diocese to express their thoughts and concerns.

We humbly suggest that in the weeks ahead, you schedule one open meeting in each of the six diocesan deaneries in which parishioners and church employees could learn from you about the diocese's situation and ask questions.

Then, and only then, we might then feel better about a course of action that seems likely to embroil everyone -victims, lay people, clergy, and parish employees in years of preventable conflict.



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