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December 27, 2015
Year of Mercy
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Feast of St. John the Evangelist
Dear Clergy Abuse Survivor,
Let me simply begin by saying I am so very sorry. Every man and woman has their own story of their abuse and I cannot and will not ever assume to know the degree of pain and anguish you have suffered these many years. I am sad that sexual abuse is part of your story. It’s not right and it’s not fair. I wish I could change it. These perpetrators committed crimes and sins that took from you something that can never be replaced and I am so very sorry.
Throughout the years of my priesthood, never could I have imagined what some individuals, using the power and authority of their collar, would do to manipulate children. I am angry, shocked, saddened, embarrassed to this day and those feelings will remain with me for the rest of my life.
The Church, as an institution, was part of that abuse. Whether directly or indirectly; whether willingly or out of ignorance; the Church was wrong. No reasoning, explanation or rationalization can change the history of your suffering.
As we close this year of 2015, my prayer for healing and resolution between abuse survivors and the Church continues, knowing for some that has already happened and for others that may seem impossible. But please know that my door and the doors of our parishes and the hearts of our priests are at your service to effect reconciliation whenever the moment might be appropriate.
With assurance of prayers for you and your families, I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee