Statement on Recent Clergy Abuse in the News
During these past weeks, we are experiencing painful reminders of the horror of clergy sexual abuse of minors and the failure of Church leaders to address these crimes swiftly and justly. Published:2018-08-02
The media reports of allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick brings forward again the scourges of the past. Pope Francis has rightly accepted Archbishop McCarrick’s resignation and he will now face a canonical process and penalties.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed this issue when he said these accusations “reveal a grievous moral failure within the Church.”
As you know all too well, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee we have experienced the same issues with regard to clergy abuse of minors, the handling of allegations, the treatment of perpetrators, and transparency with communication and information.
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 because of whatever progress that has been made. We must remain vigilant in our commitment to keep children safe and hold perpetrators accountable.
I remind each of you of the pastoral concern we need to exhibit to anyone who has been a victim-survivor of clergy sexual abuse or any kind of abuse for that matter. We must be watchful and attentive to how the imbalance of power affects these abusive relationships.
I 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 your local law enforcement.
Please know of my gratitude to each of you who have worked so hard to ensure our Safe Environment policies, background checks and other training and formation are in place at our parishes and schools.
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.
Asking God’s blessing upon you and those you serve, I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee