Nebraska bishop urges ‘thorough’ probe: Viganò testimony ‘must be taken seriously’
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GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic bishop in Nebraska has added his voice to those of other bishops calling for an investigation into allegations made by Archbishop Viganò.
On September 4, Bishop John G. Hanefeldt of the Grand Island diocese in Nebraska issued a statement recognizing the former Apostolic Nuncio as a credible witness.
“Because Archbishop Viganò held a unique and important position of leadership serving the Church in our country, the questions raised in his statement must be taken seriously,” he wrote. (The full statement is published below.)
Recalling the statement of Cardinal DiNardo, the leader of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Hanefeldt added his support for a “a prompt and thorough examination of this entire crisis in leadership.”
After apologizing to victims of clerical sexual abuse, the Bishop of Grand Island called for an authentic accountability on the part of the bishops.
“There must be true accountability for bishops going forward,” he wrote. We must safeguard children and young people from this ever happening again.”
Attributing the “serious evils” in the Church to a supernatural struggle, Hanefeldt invited the people of his diocese to join him in praying, fasting and penitential acts.
“These are serious evils in the Church. This is spiritual warfare,” the bishop declared. “Please join me in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and in offering acts of personal penance and fasting in reparation for these sins and for the healing and consolation of all victims of abuse and their families.”
Hanefeldt has previously come to the support of the vulnerable against apathy and abuse, most notably when he opposed the imposition of harmful “gender theory” in Nebraskan schools.
Statement from Grand Island Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt
September 4, 2018
The crimes of sexual abuse by the clergy and the cover-up that followed has destroyed so many innocent lives and profoundly wounded the people of God, who so deeply love their Catholic faith.
Following upon both the accusations of the abuse committed by Archbishop McCarrick and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, new questions have been raised in recent days by the former Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, implicating others in Church leadership in connection with Archbishop McCarrick. Because Archbishop Viganò held a unique and important position of leadership serving the Church in our country, the questions raised in his statement must be taken seriously.
On August 16th, Cardinal DiNardo called for “an Apostolic Visitation, working in concert with a national lay commission granted independent authority, to seek the truth in all of this.” Since then, he has further stated, “The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.” I want to add my voice in support of his call for a prompt and thorough examination of this entire crisis in leadership.
To all of you who are victims of these unspeakable crimes, I am so very sorry. Apologies are only words, but I abhor these abuses and pray for your healing and consolation every day. Those in positions of authority have violated your human dignity and covered up the truth. I pray that by God’s grace, truth and justice will soon prevail for you and your families, and for the entire Church.
There must be true accountability for bishops going forward. We must safeguard children and young people from this ever happening again. These are serous evils in the Church. This is spiritual warfare. Please join me in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and in offering acts of personal penance and fasting in reparation for these sins and for the healing and consolation of all victims of abuse and their families.
Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5.) As the Church undergoes this purification, let us remain in Christ and abide in him. May our Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace, intercede for each of us in these difficult times.
In Christ, our Hope!
Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt
Diocese of Grand Island
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