Laria said that while there had been numerous events on campus regarding the abuse crisis, she wanted to travel to Baltimore to continue to demand some sort of action, even informal, that demonstrates the bishops "are willing to stand up for survivors and take action."
Her concerns were echoed by fellow Georgetown student Julie Bevilacqua, who said the crisis made her feel angry and hurt.
"I just really feel a sense of urgency for some kind of action and for us to see some change to show...that our Church is willing to stand up for survivors and to stand with them," Bevilacqua told CNA. She said that she hopes young people, women, and lay leaders like herself will be given a bigger platform in the Church in the future.
Although most of those demonstrating outside the assembly were critical of the bishops, the USCCB, and Church hierarchy as a whole, there was one notable exception to these feelings: Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States.
In August, Vigano released an explosive letter that claimed, among other things, that Pope Francis had stripped penalties imposed on Archbishop McCarrick by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. During the general assembly, many bishops publicly expressed displeasure at the Vatican's perceived stalling of any investigation into the claims made in the letter.
At the Silence Stops Now rally, a mere mention of Vigano's name drew applause, and at one point, those assembled chanted his name in a manner that was not unlike a political campaign rally. Conversely, the mention of just about any other bishop sparked a chorus of boos.
A six-foot-tall poster displayed outside the hotel on Wednesday was even less subtle: a picture of Vigano, captioned "Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, OUR HERO!! Thank you!"
That poster was positioned next to an image of Our Lady of Fatima, and another featuring a collage of American cardinals, accusing them of being complicit with Satan.
Connie McCalla, who traveled to Baltimore from Philadelphia, said that while she found the message at the Silence Stops Now rally to be a bit "mixed," she was there to demand accountability among bishops.
A bishop needs to be transparent and remember "that they are to lead the Church and to protect the body of Christ," said McCalla. The bishops "need to be heard and not behind stone and glass," she said, pointing to the hotel where the assembly was being held.
Throughout the weekend, the majority of the demonstrators CNA spoke to had optimistic views on the future of the Church, despite the current controversies and difficulties.
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Ahlbin told CNA that although she thinks the Church must "repent, submit to grace, and allow it to stop being about policy," returning to a focus on God and the Holy Spirit, she's "confident that the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph."
This story has been updated.