Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our pastor's message in this week's newsletter

Dear friends,...Nine years ago, in this very season of Lent, the Church experienced the great suffering of coming to know the first words of the terrible suffering churchmen inflicted on her very own children in the abuse crimes that had been taking place for decades. It was with shock and horror that we came to know the pain of thousands of innocents whose lives were forever changed by these events. And it was with shame that I came to stand before you on Holy Thursday evening to acknowledge that brothers in the priesthood had so dishonored the high calling to which Jesus Christ had invited them. And to ask your forgiveness on behalf of a Church that, while wounded herself by such betrayals, could also have been complicit in the whole sordid episode.

It seems from reports that another Lenten scourge is upon us again. I
need not go into the substance of the stories; I am sure all of you have
read them. I feel that shame once again and, perhaps, even more so
that what was supposed to have been done, in virtue of the Dallas
Charter, was not. For the actions of those who should have known
better and done better, once again I ask forgiveness. Words on paper
cannot express the sorrow in my heart as we once again face this
calamity. First and foremost the sorrow I feel for those so injured in
their person. I pray for them daily. And the sorrow I feel because of
those who could not live up to the promises made in 2002.
I close by making my own the sentiments of Archbishop Gregory
Aymon of New Orleans. In answer to questioning on a radio
broadcast, he said the following. “What happened in Philadelphia is,
quite frankly, very embarrassing to us and it gives us, unfortunately,
once again, the opportunity to enter into the suffering of people who
have been sexually abused and gives us the opportunity, as a church,
to reach out and apologize to those who have been sexually abused
and those with whom we have shared a part of that.” And in answer to
a question whether to hold criminally responsible those responsible for
the cover-up, Archbishop Aymon responded, “I think so; we are not
above the law. We are accountable to the law just like everybody else
and if we do anything that is wrong criminally and sinfully, we should
have to pay for that. We should be held to the highest of standards
just like everybody else and there is no excuse for a cover-up, there
simply is no excuse because we are endangering the emotional lives of
people and of children.”

To which I say, “Amen.” Those who are responsible for this
continuing tragedy need to be held accountable. I cannot imagine
what could have been on their minds and in their hearts to allow this to
happen. Let us pray that among all the dioceses of the United States,
Philadelphia will be the only exception. But even one is too many.

God Bless,
Fr. Ron

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