Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Just two weeks ago I wrote about the scandal surrounding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and of clergy sexual abuse. Now I find myself once again reflecting upon the horrible news coming from the grand jury reports from dioceses in Pennsylvania.
As a Church, we have made and continue to make such progress in addressing clergy sexual abuse of minors and holding perpetrators accountable. Then this news hits, and we are reminded of just how terrible things were, and how the stain of this sin remains with us today. Each media report picks open a scab of a horrible wound. As a bishop, it is distressing and highlights the failure of Church leaders to address these crimes swiftly and justly. While my heart aches for victims as they are forced to relive their own experiences, I am grateful for their courage in telling their stories.
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, it’s easy to dismiss these things as “having been addressed,” because we have implemented policies and procedures, along with checks and balances, including with the input and oversight of both our Community Advisory Board and Diocesan Review Board. However, our archdiocese is not immune today because of the work that has been done in the past or the progress that has been made. We must remain vigilant in our commitment to keep children safe and hold perpetrators accountable. We must be watchful and attentive to how the imbalance of power affects these abusive relationships.
Let me again urge anyone who has experienced sexual abuse by anyone in the Church to come forward. Reports can be made to our Victim Assistance Coordinator or contact should be made with local law enforcement.
Let us together pray for our Church and for those who have experienced the pain and suffering of sexual abuse in any way. May the Holy Spirit give us wisdom, and may we always learn from the sins of the past, and do everything in our power to ensure those sins are not repeated.
With assurance of prayers, I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Contact information relating to the Archbishop’s letter:
Community Advisory Board – https://goo.gl/sBRzye
Diocesan Review Board – https://goo.gl/jPcZoZ
Victim Assistance Coordinator – Mandy Bibo, 414-758-2232
[reprinted from the 8/26/2018 St. Francis Borgia bulletin]