“Rebuilding faith, five years on”
These crimes against children were all the more heinous because they were committed by men who vowed themselves to emulate Christ, and were further enabled by the failure of the Church leadership to respond appropriately.
God came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ to lift us out of the darkness of sin. Only with the truth of clergy sexual abuse exposed could we again seek to walk fully in His light.
... On my own behalf and on behalf of the good and faithful men, women, clergy, and religious of our archdiocese, I again express my most heartfelt apology to all the children and young people, most now adults, who were abused by priests or other representatives of the Church. Your wounded hearts and shattered spirits have a special claim on the Church, the body of Christ. We will forever be sorry for the harm you have suffered and humbly ask your forgiveness.
I also want to say a special word to the families of those who have been sexually abused. You trusted and loved your priests unconditionally. Tragically, that trust was betrayed. Many of you have extended to me the privilege of meeting with you over these past years. I have seen your broken hearts and tear-filled eyes. I have heard you share agonizing stories about your children, some of whom have even taken their own lives. You will always remain in my heart and mind. And, I pray that you will find consolation in the enduring compassion of the Lord.
The impact of the clergy sexual abuse scandal has reached deep into the lives of parishioners and the faith-filled priests who minister to them. They have borne the shame, grief, and confusion of these devastating revelations with heroic faith. For the clergy and parents, in particular, the ability to impart the gift of faith to children has been especially challenging. And, for the broader community, the scandal of clergy sexual abuse has given rise to anger and mistrust.
If there were no hope, we would indeed be despondent. But as we again celebrate the Epiphany, Jesus reminds us that He will be with us always, even in the most difficult moments. The Christ Child, in the arms of Mary, beckons us to draw close to the peace and protection of His holy embrace. In this love the process of healing can both begin and be sustained.
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