Head of US bishops: We need ‘spiritual conversion’ to deal with sex-abuse ‘crisis’
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called for the “spiritual conversion” of all U.S. bishops so that they can properly address the sexual abuse “crisis” happening in the Church, highlighted on account of the Cardinal McCarrick scandal.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, released a statement today saying that accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick had led him to convene a meeting of the USCCB Executive Committee to discern the “right course of action for the USCCB.”
“This meeting was the first of many among bishops that will extend into our Administrative Committee meeting in September and our General Assembly in November,” he wrote. “All of these discussions will be oriented toward discerning the right course of action for the USCCB.”
The Cardinal said that these discussions would “take some time” but that he would make four suggestions at once: that his “brother bishops” be kind to sexual abuse victims and “accompany them”; that anyone who has been assaulted or harassed by anyone in the Church come forward and, if applicable, to contact the police; that the bishops investigate the allegations regarding Archbishop McCarrick; and that they recognize that a “spiritual conversion is needed.”
DiNardo admitted in the short document that there is a “crisis of sexual morality” in the Church:
We bishops recognize that a spiritual conversion is needed as we seek to restore the right relationship among us and with the Lord. Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality. The way forward must involve learning from past sins.
The Cardinal said that the allegations regarding Cardinal McCarrick had made bishops, including himself, angry, sad, ashamed, and keen for answers. “They cause bishops anger, sadness, and shame; I know they do in me. They compel bishops to ask, as I do, what more could have been done to protect the People of God.”
He acknowledged that McCarrick’s abuses, and their cover-up, had done “great harm” and represented “grave moral failures of judgement” by Church leaders. “Both the abuses themselves, and the fact that they have remained undisclosed for decades, have caused great harm to people's lives and represent grave moral failures of judgement on the part of Church leaders.”
DiNardo said the failures raised “serious questions,” and assured the faithful that Archbishop McCarrick will face “the judgement of a canonical process” in Vatican City.
Catholics disgruntled by DiNardo’s statement have taken to social media, such as Twitter, to express their frustration.
The Creative Minority Report blogger wrote, “Pro forma BS from the USCCB that completely fails to recognize the source and scope of the problem. They will not change. [T]his is who they are.”
The Radical Catholic tweeted, “I missed the part where it says 'The USCCB promises to identify and bring to justice all individuals involved in what we now openly acknowledge to be a decades-old network of predatory homosexual corruption operating from within our own ranks.'"
Statement of Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Bishops:
"The accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick reveal a grievous moral failure within the Church. They cause bishops anger, sadness, and shame; I know they do in me. They compel bishops to ask, as I do, what more could have been done to protect the People of God. Both the abuses themselves, and the fact that they have remained undisclosed for decades, have caused great harm to people's lives and represent grave moral failures of judgement on the part of Church leaders.
These failures raise serious questions. Why weren't these allegations of sins against chastity and human dignity disclosed when they were first brought to Church officials? Why wasn't this egregious situation addressed decades sooner and with justice? What must our seminaries do to protect the freedom to discern a priestly vocation without being subject to misuse of power?
Archbishop McCarrick will rightly face the judgement of a canonical process at the Holy See regarding the allegations against him, but there are also steps we should be taking as the Church here in the United States. Having prayed about this, I have convened the USCCB Executive Committee. This meeting was the first of many among bishops that will extend into our Administrative Committee meeting in September and our General Assembly in November. All of these discussions will be oriented toward discerning the right course of action for the USCCB. This work will take some time but allow me to stress these four points immediately.
First, I encourage my brother bishops as they stand ready in our local dioceses to respond with compassion and justice to anyone who has been sexually abused or harassed by anyone in the Church. We should do whatever we can to accompany them.
Second, I would urge anyone who has experienced sexual assault or harassment by anyone in the Church to come forward. Where the incident may rise to the level of a crime, please also contact local law enforcement.
Third, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick's conduct to the full extent of its authority; and where that authority finds its limits, the Conference will advocate with those who do have the authority. One way or the other, we are determined to find the truth in this matter.
Finally, we bishops recognize that a spiritual conversion is needed as we seek to restore the right relationship among us and with the Lord. Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality. The way forward must involve learning from past sins.
Let us pray for God's wisdom and strength for renewal as we follow St. Paul's instruction: 'Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect' (Romans 12:2)."