I write to you as a concerned and heartbroken member of your Diocese to urge you to issue a response to the recent Grand Jury files chronicling decades of abuse in Pennsylvania. I ask you to issue a firm statement from our Diocese that stands against anyone guilty of perpetrating, assisting or covering up crimes of this nature. We need our clergy to be united and strong. We need you to speak clearly and show us you are filled with righteous anger and a fiery passion for change worthy of St. Catherine of Siena. Our parish priests will look to you as an example of how to lead their congregations, if you don’t speak and speak soon they will think they do not need to address this either and that will only continue to the damage the faith and trust of the Catholics in their pews.
We know that most of our priests are wonderful men worthy of our love, admiration, and trust. We know that the ones who have hurt us are few, but now more than ever we need to see the Grace bestowed upon you by your vocation in your words and in your actions. Your church needs you to denounce this evil, to call for resignations, excommunications and civil justice where ever necessary. The victims of these crimes need to see that you believe them and your parishioners need to know that you’ll believe them if it ever happens to them or their loved ones.
We need to see public statements on our websites, in our Catholic periodicals, on our social media; we need messages in our bulletins and to hear homilies that don’t hold back. Someone once told me that the greatest thing the Devil can do is convince us he doesn’t exist – if we don’t speak out, if we don’t demand change, if we let the Devil convince us there’s nothing we can do or say to make things better or worst of all if we convince ourselves that there is, in fact, no problem at all than the Devil wins our souls.
I ask you, as brothers and sisters in Christ, to stand strong against this evil that seeks not only to destroy our faith in our Church, but our faith in each other.
Anyone is welcome to use my words to send their own letters to their Bishops and other church clergy if you are having trouble finding your own. If you share on social media, please link credit back 🙂