Open Letter to Priests
My Dear Brothers in Christ,
Since being named your Archbishop, among my highest priorities has been the work of promoting healing and renewing trust with our brothers and sisters in the Church and the wider community following the clergy sexual abuse scandal. This work will be ongoing throughout our lives; the effects of the abuse are widespread and long-standing. Continuous vigilance is required on our part to ensure that the tragedy of the abuse is never repeated. As part of our efforts to address this issue forthrightly and rebuild trust through transparency, today, at my direction, and after much consultation, deliberation, prayer and a significant amount of effort, the Archdiocese of Boston has released a Publication With Respect To Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child.
There are many viewpoints concerning the publication of this report and it is likely that it will be received in different ways by the groups of people who make up the Church and society at large. With regard to this issue, our attention and concern must always be focused first and foremost on the survivor community and their families and loved ones. We must never fail in our responsibility to be absolutely clear that the sexual abuse of children is a crime and a sin. Such abuse violates the moral and the civil law, as well as the dignity and welfare of children. It is particularly reprehensible when committed by one entrusted with the care and protection of souls. It can never be tolerated and must always be rejected in the strongest possible terms.
It is not easy for us to face the realities of the terrible betrayal of children and criminal acts perpetrated by some of our brethren. Jesus made clear that if we are to be His witnesses in the midst of a world beset by sin and tragedy, we must be prepared to take the up the cross and carry it through times of darkness and pain. We are strengthened in our most difficult moments by the truth that there is no darkness that can overcome Jesus’ healing mercy and the light of the Resurrection. With the commitment to serve the people entrusted to our care, always for the good and never to harm, let us go forward to continue the work of renewing the Church.
With the assurance of my prayers and gratitude for your ministry,
Fraternally yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Boston