Priests read archbishop’s letter to parishioners at all Masses in light of clergy sexual abuse scandal
Acknowledging revelations in recent weeks of clergy sexual abuse and failures to take action against that abuse in the Catholic Church, Archbishop George J. Lucas asked all priests at the Aug. 25-26 weekend Masses to read the following letter to parishioners:
Dear Brothers and Sisters Christ,
News in recent weeks has shown that a number of bishops and priests, over many years, have been personally responsible for the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of minors and the abuse of power. Many have been hurt and shamed by this abuse. This hurt and shame are enduring because they took place where people should have been safe and respected. My shame is deepened by the knowledge that so many in positions of responsibility and trust ignored the cries of the victims and turned away when those who are so dear to the Lord needed their protection and care.
Several days ago, I met with a representative group of our archdiocesan priests. We shared experiences of the pain and anger of our parishioners. We spoke of our own desire for proper accountability and for healing in the Church. Like so many of you, my brother priests are hurt and demoralized by what we have heard. Please let me encourage us all to turn to Christ and beg his companionship in these days. I am committing to fast and pray each Thursday, for mercy and healing for the Church, and I have invited our priests to join me.
In addition, the priests have encouraged me in my commitment to insist with the other bishops of this country that there be structures put in place for judging allegations of misconduct on the part of bishops. All must be able to have confidence that there are transparent and effective ways for bishops to be held accountable for their actions.
Here in the Archdiocese of Omaha, we remain committed to the protection of children, young people, and vulnerable adults. We remain committed to healing for victims of past abuse. In cooperation with members of law enforcement, we remain committed to responding deliberately and professionally to any claims of abuse. Anyone concerned about the actions of clergy or any Church worker should contact our Manager of Victim Outreach and Prevention, Mary Beth Hanus, at 402-827-3798 or toll free at 1-888-808-9055.
Be assured of my prayers for all of you in the days ahead and of my gratitude for the privilege of serving as your archbishop.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend George J. Lucas
Archbishop of Omaha