"They have failed to undertake a swift and full investigation of the McCarrick case. The Vatican's failure to act is now aggravating the real harm done to the Church. In the end, however, the faithful in the United States will hold you-and not the curial officials-responsible for what does or does not happen in the wake of the most recent scandals."
Henricks stated: "I urge you to petition forcefully for an open investigation led by the laity. Do not allow a false notion of unity to prevail, a false unity in which your integrity as bishops is sacrificed to expediency."
He said he understands, "as a former Church bureaucrat … the instinct to do whatever Rome asks."
"I implore you, nonetheless, to state publicly what most of you know needs to be done so that the corruption within the Church is brought into the light and eradicated."
"Only if the evil is exposed can the Church be healed," Henricks wrote. "If you do not pursue this course, the faithful will blame you for the next scandal, which is sure to come, and their distrust will surpass that of the present moment. The result will be that more parishes and schools will close, and less charitable work will be available to the poor and the marginalized. Most damaging of all, fewer people will avail themselves of the grace of the sacraments. The losses will be eternal."
If the USCCB speaks to the crisis and demands an open investigation, "then you will begin to regain the trust of the faithful," he stated.
Henricks said his children "need strong ecclesial leadership as they face the strengthening winds of secularism."
"Without your witness of standing up to misguided ecclesiastical powers, without your fatherly care for the Church and the faithful, I cannot point to Church leadership as a model for their faith."
"I beg you not to allow fear to rule the day," Henricks concluded.
"Please govern as fathers, stay true to Jesus Christ, and proclaim the truth, in season and out of season, regardless of the cost. Be assured of my prayers and the prayers of so many of the faithful as you execute your solemn responsibilities."