Committee's Letter to Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo

The Dallas Morning News [Dallas TX]
June 20, 2003

Below is the text of the letter a group that calls itself Committee of Concerned Catholics sent the papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo. About three dozen people signed the letter.

Your Excellency:

The current sexual abuse and leadership crisis in the Diocese of Dallas has become a scandal and an embarrassment to the Church. We strongly urge you to end this crisis by promptly replacing the Most Rev. Charles V. Grahmann as Bishop of our Diocese.

We, the undersigned, are faithful Catholics who believe with the church fathers that the bishop is the vicar of Christ in his diocese. As lay Catholics, we also understand the obligation the church fathers have placed on us to protect and defend the Catholic faith. In keeping with that trust and in order to restore the dignity of the sacred office of bishop in our city, we are compelled by conscience and by a pragmatic assessment of the damage to the church in Dallas to petition you to act. We believe that daily harm will continue to accrue to the church unless this crisis is addressed.

We have chosen to act only reluctantly, after despairing of being heard through conventional channels. The local diocesan leadership is isolated and in denial about the gravity of the situation, and our concern grows daily. We do not take lightly our plea for intervention, and make it only after much thought and reflection, and only for the purpose of seeking relief from an untenable situation.

We respectfully request that you meet with several of us so that we can present a first-hand report on the gravity of the situation. We request this meeting outside of the normal juridic procedures of the church because the situation has become so serious that it requires the immediate attention of the Holy See.

Realizing that the signatures of a few may count for little on such a serious matter, we plan to begin a media campaign and to establish a web site within ten days to solicit the signatures of our fellow laypeople and devoted clerics and religious in Dallas in support of our petition. We have secured funds in an effort to ensure that every Catholic in Dallas is made aware of this petition drive.

Unless you request us not to do so before a meeting with you, we will proceed to gather this petition citywide in order to present to you and to the Congregation of Bishops a full picture of how deeply the Catholic community feels about the urgent need for the replacement of Bishop Grahmann.

If you are able to accommodate us, we would hope to meet with you at your earliest convenience. Representatives of the undersigned will be available to travel to Washington for any meeting you suggest. ...

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We realize that other matters urgently seek your attention, but due to major missteps by the bishop that have received widespread media attention and due to the recent announcement that Bishop Galante is leaving, the situation in Dallas requires immediate action.

Yours in Christ,

Group members

The group of local lay Catholics pressing for Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann's resignation includes business executives, lawyers, civic activists and philanthropists. Many have been active in local Catholic organizations and schools. Among them:

Albert "Al" Casey - Now retired, he led several major corporations during his career, including AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines. Three presidents have tapped him for federal appointments, as postmaster general, chief executive of the Resolution Trust Corp., and a member of the U.S. Postal Service's board of governors.

Charles "Corky" Clark Jr. - He is a business executive who has served on the Catholic Foundation board. In 1999, he was named a distinguished alumnus of Jesuit College Preparatory School, where he has served in various board positions. He is a past chairman of the Byron Nelson golf tournament.

William E. Cooper - He is a former board chairman of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and a former president of the Dallas Market Center.

Harry "Buzz" and Carolyn Crutcher - He is a hotel owner and has served on the Jesuit Prep board. He also led a committee supporting a DART bond election to build light rail. Ms. Crutcher has served in leadership positions with Catholic Charities of Dallas, the Catholic Foundation and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Albert Gonzalez - He is a funeral home owner who led part of the effort to keep the diocese from selling St. Ann's School to pay for sex-abuse legal settlements.

Frank and Julie Hubach - He is managing partner of the Jones Day Reavis & Pogue law firm's Dallas office and a past chairman of Jesuit Prep's board of trustees. She has been active in various church organizations.

Jerry Lastelick - He is a lawyer and a past president of the Dallas Bar Association. In 1991, he was selected as a distinguished alumnus of Jesuit Prep and has served on the school's board of trustees, including a term as chairman.

Anita N. Martinez - She was the first Hispanic member of the Dallas City Council and founded a prominent dance group. A recreation center in West Dallas is named in her honor.

William McCormack - He is a partner at the Hughes & Luce law firm and has served in governance roles for three Catholic schools - Jesuit Prep, St. Anthony and Bishop Dunne High School. He also is on the executive board of the Boy Scouts' Circle Ten Council.

Neil O'Brien - He is a partner at the law firm Gardere Wynne Sewell. He serves on the University of Dallas board and has been active with the Jesuit Foundation and the Catholic Foundation.

Frank Ribelin - He is a retired businessman and an art dealer who donated the first works of art that helped start the Jesuit Dallas Museum at Jesuit Prep.

Gloria Tarpley - She is a retired lawyer who was appointed to Dallas' Ethics Advisory Commission. She led the effort at St. Thomas Aquinas Church to oppose the transfer of the Rev. Stephen Bierschenk, whom the diocese said had not fully implemented its safe environment program.

Ray Wooldridge - He is a retired businessman who serves on the University of Dallas board and just completed a term as chairman. He also has worked on the committee that raised money for the school's construction projects.

Joe Pete Wilbert - He is a past president of the Catholic Foundation and was selected in 1990 as a distinguished alumnus at Jesuit Prep.

SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research


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