The following letter was approved by the CCA Board of Directors and sent to Pope Francis last week.
His Holiness, Pope Francis
00120 Vatican City
February 26, 2019
Dear Pope Francis,
We are writing to express our hope that the Church will soon be able to call forth women, as well as men, to serve as ordained deacons in the ministries of liturgy, word and charity. We are aware that a committee which you commissioned to study the possibility of ordaining women deacons is complete and its report is now before you.
We are the Catholic Committee of Appalachia—an organization that has sought to be a force for the poor and neglected of our mountainous area for almost 50 years. We trust that the commission has presented to you a strong theological basis for the ordination of women to the deaconate. We urge you out of our sense of need and fairness to allow this to happen.
Jesus entrusted the Church with the mission to embody and proclaim the Good News of love and mercy to all nations. In our part of the world, the Appalachian region of the United States, we have both great missionary opportunities and formidable pastoral challenges. We still have large areas that are underserved by any Catholic clergy, and we hear regularly from our members of chronic unmet pastoral needs.
We are grateful for your courageous consideration of the possibility of women deacons and urge you allow those worthy women among us to serve in this capacity.
Your brothers and sisters in Christ,
Chair of the Board of Directors
Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors
on behalf of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia