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.
There is much more to be done in the Catholic Church for our American Victims of Abuse by the Clergy. Countless victims of sexual abuse in our Country need more than a"call to.church leaders" from the Adrian Dominican Sisters this year. We need you to put American Victims and Families first and to take action to prosecute and remove any and all Clergy from our parishes. The new immigrants coming to America from Mexico will be innocent victims too. First things first, my dear Sisters. Help our clergy victim advocates and fallen away Catholics will be back at Mass with prayers of gratitude the Social Justice Reform you brought about. You ARE the Church Leaders we are all praying for and counting on to cleanse the Catholic Church for the innocent men, women and children I need your care as a Community of Catholic Church Women Leaders. Your Vocation was always an Invitation from God to sanctify his Church.God bless you and empower you to embrace and defend human dignity for all men, women and children Church Members.
Thanx 4 this.
How can anyone remain in the church after knowledge of sexual abuse first became uncovered years ago? This has been common knowledge for decades, and the leadership in the church has been, and still is, complicit. As a victim of sexual abuse myself, you never GET OVER this! There isn't anything the church can do to redeem itself! How can anyone be true to Jesus and his word and still remain a Catholic???
Thank you for this statement. I am heartbroken over the abuse of children I cannot even speak to it. Bless you all and God bless his children
Thank you for this very important message to all of us. I have sent it to family and friends.Blessings and love, Carol Elsholz
Perhaps in this heartache, this struggle we are facing, we are, at the same time, moving toward greater integrity. I long for the hierarchy in the RC Church to sit with their brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Communion and hear of their deep reflection, struggle, and discernment as they entered into the transformation that they are now living. Full personhood for all members, full participation of ALL in leadership, full celebration of the sexual dimension of human life, full inclusion of all in the ongoing mystery of our lives as unique souls; unique souls in relationship to one another, the dear planet who sustains us, and all the creatures that inhabit this home with us...!!! So many voices in this faith community have been and continue to encourage this faith community to open to and embrace the mystery together!! It is truth and reconciliation time; it is holding one another in a time of transformation...we can do this!