Friday, August 17, 2018
Archbishop Thomas Wenski - The Archdiocese of Miami
Archbishop Thomas Wenski issued this statement Aug. 17, 2018 in response to the report on historic abuse cases issued by the grand jury in Pennsylvania.
Last week, a Grand Jury in Pennsylvania released a disturbing report on historic abuse cases that occurred over seventy years in the State. The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts, like those that former Cardinal McCarrick is said to have committed, were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from her past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.
Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s. By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse. In the Archdiocese of Miami, we take seriously our responsibility to provide a safe environment for all God’s children; and any member of the clergy credibly charged with having abused a minor or vulnerable adult is permanently removed from ministry.
Church history and our daily experience give ample evidence of the sinfulness of the members of Christ’s body. But, should we be surprised that a Church that Jesus founded to save sinners finds within her ranks sinners? Nevertheless, the failure of many members to live coherently the faith they profess is a counter witness to the Gospel. On the eve of his election as pope, Cardinal Ratzinger decried the “filth” to be found within the Church, and then as Pope Benedict remarked that when the “world reminds us of our sins” the proper response is not denial but repentance.
Let us pray for all victims of sexual abuse. May they realize that what happen to them was not their fault. May the Lord heal them. Also, let us pray for those priests who strive to serve God’s people with integrity; and, let us pray for each other: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.