CWF Submission to Vatican February Meeting

In February 2019, the Catholic Women’s Forum offered the following submissions to the Vatican to give voice to thousands of U.S. Catholic women seeking to share their concerns over the clergy sexual abuse crisis with the Church hierarchy. CWF sent the submissions to Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ, the President of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and a member of the organizing committee for the February meeting at the Vatican regarding clergy sexual abuse. CWF also sent them to the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, with a copy enclosed for His Holiness Pope Francis. The submissions were offered to U.S. bishops and archbishops across the United States to help in their efforts to restore the Church’s credibility and promote healing within their own dioceses.

The CWF submissions present women’s voices in three ways:

  1. A letter from Letitia Peyton, the wife of a deacon and mother of a 16-year-old boy molested three years ago by his parish priest in Louisiana (USA). Her letter is a moving reminder that the Church’s abuse crisis is not past history, but a present, terrible reality.
  2. The responses of 5,038 U.S. Catholic women who participated in a recent survey regarding the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Our report, “Giving Voice to Catholic Women: A Survey of U.S. Catholic Women on the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis,” offers a window into the hearts of Catholic women strongly committed to the faith and generous to the Church.
  3. The recommendations of experienced seminary professors (all women), whose document, “Sharing a Spirit of Discernment: Recommendations from U.S. Women Seminary Professors,” offers insights on strengthening seminary culture and formation, reducing clericalism, and fostering chaste celibacy.

All submissions can be found linked in the above and are also linked below:

While these submissions do not claim to speak for all women, they offer the hierarchy a realistic, though painful, view of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, as seen through the eyes of Catholic women. The voices represented are but a small sampling of the thousands of personal messages we received while surveying over 5,000 women.

If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact the Catholic Women’s Forum at


Media Links

Laity Mobilize to End the Sex-Abuse Crisis and Reform the Church, Peter Jesserer Smith, National Catholic Register (March 12, 2019)

Vatican summit brings little hope for change, Kiley Crossland, WORLD (February 22, 2019)

Catholic Women’s Forum provides testimonies, data about female responses to abuse crisis, Jeannette Flood, Catholic World Report (February 21, 2019)

Letters from the Vatican #2- Giving Voice to Catholic Women, Mary Rice Hasson, First Things (February 20, 2019)

Women’s Voices at the Vatican Summit, Sofia Carozza, Patheos (February 19, 2019)

Catholic Women’s Forum to Help Restore Church Credibility and Healing, Elisa Meyer, World Religion News (February 19, 2019)

US Catholic Women Speak Out Before Vatican Summit, Patti Armstrong, National Catholic Register (February 18, 2019)