August 22, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – In response to recent rollbacks of regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters has issued the following statement:
The elimination of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules aimed at reducing air pollution from coal-burning power plants not only continues the Trump Administration’s dangerous assault on efforts to address the long-term impacts of deleterious climate change – it also presents a clear and present danger. According to news reports, the rollback of rules could lead to as many as 1,400 deaths, 15,000 cases of respiratory problems, and up to 180,000 school days missed annually by 2030.
This decision comes on the heels of an EPA rollback of fuel-efficiency rules intended to double the fuel economy of US-made cars by 2025, which would have significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions and tailpipe pollution. It, in turn, follows the Trump Administration’s decision last year to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
These troubling actions move us, as a people and nation, away from the “new and universal solidarity” that is required to address the existential threat of global climate change. That solidarity, as Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Sí, is with the whole community of life on God’s Earth. “We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the Earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters” (Laudato Sí).
August 21, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters affirms the following statement on sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests issued by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, of which the Congregation is a member.
The recent news detailing the extensive and sometimes brutal sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests in the United States has left us at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious sickened and ashamed of the church we love, trusted, and have committed our lives to serve. We weep and grieve with all who over the decades have been victimized by sexual predators within the faith community and feel their pain as our own. We recognize that the damage done to many is irreparable.
Sexual abuse is a horrific crime, and the horror is so much worse when committed by persons in whom society has placed its trust and confidence. Equally difficult to comprehend is the culture within the church hierarchy that tolerated the abuse, left children and vulnerable adults subject to further abuse, and created practices that covered up the crimes and protected the abusers.
We call upon the church leadership to implement plans immediately to support more fully the healing of all victims of clergy abuse, hold abusers accountable, and work to uncover and address the root causes of the sexual abuse crisis. We believe that the work to implement the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its subsequent revisions has been an important and effective step in addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. We have watched the Conference of Major Superiors of Men diligently work to assure the protection and safety of children and youth and applaud its efforts. However, it is clear that more serious action needs to be taken to assure that the culture of secrecy and cover-up ends.
We also call upon church leaders to attend to the severe erosion of the church’s moral standing in the world. Its members are angry, confused, and struggling to find ways to make sense of the church’s failings. The church leadership needs to speak with honesty and humility about how this intolerable culture developed and how that culture will now be deconstructed, and to create places where church members can express our anger and heartbreak. We call on the leaders to include competent members of the laity more fully in the work to eradicate abuse and change the culture, policies, and practices. We are committed to collaborate in the essential work of healing and transformation that our church so desperately needs.
Finally, we recognize that the vast majority of priests have not committed abuse and are suffering greatly because of the actions of some of their brothers. We offer them our prayer and support as they continue their ministries in these very challenging times and as they too struggle to understand the complexity of factors that led to this deplorable situation.