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A message to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

We call on our Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world to bring light to the past, to demonstrate change in the present, and to build for the future of our Church.

Out of love for our Church, we Catholic women and men offer the following steps as necessary actions for our bishops.  With faith and hope, we proffer these reforms in order to ensure the future of our beloved Church, for ourselves, for our children, and for generations to come.  

5 Theses

1. Full transparency

Release the names of clergy in every diocese found by internal processes to be abusers. Pledge to fully cooperate, without question and without qualification, with all new and ongoing investigations initiated by Attorneys General, local prosecutors, and any other law enforcement bodies, especially when evidence points to abuse by clerics and negligence by those with responsibility over them. 

2. Survivors’ voices

Create and publicize a permanent and prominent place in every issue of every diocesan newspaper in the country for survivors of clergy sexual abuse to share their stories.

3. Simple living

As a symbolic gesture of the commitment to dismantle clericalism, shed the royal raiment and regalia of the episcopate, wearing the plain black garb and liturgical vestments of a parish priest and spending time in service to the poor and marginalized for the coming liturgical year.

4. Put women in church leadership

Ask Pope Francis to restore women to the ordained diaconate, to include women as voting members at meetings of the synod of bishops, to reopen the discussion of women’s ordination, and to name women as cardinals at the next consistory and at every consistory going forward until a balance is achieved.

5. Pray for a reformed Church

Require every parish in every diocese to include this prayer, or one based on it, every Sunday in the prayers of the faithful during the next three liturgical years: 

“That from this community of gathered people will rise a new church:  a church that protects the abused and the marginalized, ministering to all in search of healing; a church that strives continually to overcome every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on gender, race, color, social condition, sexual orientation, language or religion, in order to pave the way for a new future of joy and hope . . . we pray to the Lord.

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Act Now

  • Keep up with the reforms stated in the 5theses In the News and in the 5 Theses Facebook group

  • Host a prayer service in your home, church or chapel.

  • Talk about it. Gather a small group, lead or participate. The In Spirit and Truth blog offers a great outline here and recommends this instructional resource for leading small group discussions provided by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

  • Pray this prayer, and ask your parish to include it in the petitions at your Masses. Download the prayer card and share it with others.

  • Mail flyers and postcards to your bishop at his chancery Keep putting 5 Theses postcards and letters in the mail, in the collection basket at Mass, in the hand of your pastor as you leave church, on parish bulletin boards and church doors. Distribute in person and online. Contact us if you’d like to receive a batch of postcards and/or prayer cards to share.

  • Share your actions on Instagram - tag #5theses and @5theses. These posts are encouraging to us as we seek renewal.

  • Strengthen our Church: Get involved in your home parish. Support a new ministry with time, talent, and prayer. Thank overworked and often under-appreciated staff and clergy.

  • Sign up to receive the latest information — Join In and share your work with the 5theses community around the world

  • Continue to communicate with church leadership and fellow catholics, speaking with civility and love, with wisdom and understanding.

  • Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially the bishops and their staff.

Be the persistent Canaanite woman who did not give up when the apostles told Jesus to send her away. "You are a woman of great faith. What you ask will be done for you." Matthew 15:28.

What we work and hope for: responses in words and actions from the bishops that address each of the statements in the 5 THESES to encourage the healing and renewal of our beloved Church.  

Pray for discernment and civility.


5 Theses

We are the Church

Share and promote the 5 Theses until it is done.

Keep communicating.

Be present in your Church & your parish & insist on reform.

Share the 5 Theses.

Contact your bishop.

Encourage & uplift others.