I would like to address the current situation within the Catholic Church in regards to the reports of abuse. For starters, our Diocese settled it’s abuse cases 15 years ago and now Pennsylvania’s settling their cases and next month it’ll be another Diocese and this will go on for years until all cases have been settled. What do we know about all these cases? First, the overwhelming bulk of these cases date back from the 1960’s to 1990’s. Back then the Church and modern psychology believed that these abusers could be healed. But unfortunately today we realize that such long term healing is almost impossible. Since this revelation in the early 2000’s the Church has put into place safe guards to keep our children and youth safe from predators. These safeguards include, but is not limited to requiring all Bishops, priests, deacons, employees, volunteers, and anyone who works with children and youth:
♦ Be fingerprinted according to Diocesan and Department of Justice procedures;
♦ Be background checked by the Department of Justice;
♦ Undergo Safe Environment training and certification; with continuing education every three years;
♦ Are mandated by law as mandatory reporters.
Additionally seminarians, (priests and deacons) undergo a comprehensive psychological evaluation before entering the seminary and undergo yearly human formation training and education throughout their ordained lives. Should an accusation of sexual abuse be reported, the complaint is sent to and investigated by law enforcement and the Diocese immediately. Victims of sexual abuse by church staff are urged to report the abuse by calling the toll free number (800) 364-3064. The Diocese of Orange has a zero tolerance policy as it applies to sexual abuse cases regardless of the position of the offender. Implementing these safeguards has dramatically reduced the number of reported abuse cases.
Since abuse cases have come to light we’ve all gone through many of the same emotions; from shock, disgust and anger to grief and disappointment. So much hurt and pain because of the horrible actions of some priest’s. And so on behalf of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, I say to you that I am truly sorry and will continue to pray for the healing of all persons effected.
The complete story about the abuse cases in Pennsylvania has not been reported in the media. For this reason we must be vigilant in our pursuit of truth, to get the full story. The Catholic League and Spirit Daily both have compelling reports and blogs which add a reassuring element to where the Church is today as compared to the 1960’s through the 90’s. I have also personally found Bishop Barron’s comments and reflections on this issue to be of great value. Please watch his latest video’s at: http://bit.ly/2wADHHo and http://bit.ly/2MUFQrP
As I’ve said, I’m a believer….not because of Judas but because of Jesus. What some priests and bishops did was terribly evil, for me to leave the Church Jesus started because of them would be like saying that evil wins. All my life I’ve been fighting for good and so now today, how could I allow myself to leave Jesus in the Eucharist because of the horribly evil actions of a few? Yes, those who have broken laws, broken trust and broken innocent lives need to be held responsible for their crimes so that all victims may have their day of justice and hopefully this will never happen again. As Christians we believe that good will always triumph over evil. Our calling is to be part of the solution, to help bring God’s goodness, God’s kingdom to earth.
Let there be no doubt that our obligation to protect children and young people is our highest priority. So please keep the faith and be assured that our Parish is a Safe Environment for all people, young and old! If you’d like to discuss the abuse issue more please contact me at (714) 529-1821 X116.
Blessings always in Christ Jesus, Fr. Dave