Thursday 15th November 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Anglophone Conference On Sexual Abuse . . . “The Entire Church Is Called To Put Right What Has Happened”

July 23, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By MOST REV. DIARMUID MARTIN

ROME (ZENIT) — Below is the full text of an address given by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin on the issue of clerical sex abuse. The address was given July 7 at the Anglophone Conference, which took place at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.
The Anglophone Conference takes place annually and its purpose is to address relevant issues concerning the abuse of children and adults at risk.
“The greatest harm that we could do to the progress that has been made right across the Church is to slip back into a false assurance that the crisis is a thing of the past,” said Archbishop Martin.
ZENIT News Agency provided the text of this speech. All rights reserved.

+    +    +

The Anglophone Conference is a unique gathering. It is unique in the first place in that it does not have a website, almost a mortal sin of omission by today’s conference standards! The Anglophone Conference is an informal gathering, by its nature unstructured or at least under-structured. And indeed that may well be its advantage.
The origins of the Anglophone Conference lie in an interest which arose among bishops from a number of English-speaking countries to come together informally to share experiences about how to address the problem of the sexual abuse of children by priests and religious. It was an attempt to take a more coherent look at a phenomenon which, because it was an unspeakably dark part of the life of the Church, inevitably gave rise to the temptation that it be kept out of the limelight.
The result was often that the challenge of abuse was not addressed or was addressed in different ways in different parts of the word. In the Anglophone Conference, bishops came together to begin to trace a different path.
The Anglophone Conference may well have been from the start under-structured, but in time it became a real workshop of best practice, in which episcopal conferences could come together and explore what were the best ways of breaking taboos about the subject of child abuse by clergy and of developing solid norms of pastoral practice which could be addressed by bishops conferences in different cultural and juridical situations.
The Anglophone Conference was pioneering and trend-setting. In these days we have come together to hear success stories of progress that has been made worldwide. We are pleased to hear from those working in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the standards of good practice that are now rightly being demanded throughout the entire Church.
But it is important to remember that the Anglophone Conference was a pioneer in looking for coherent international norms and in anticipating much that has now become commonplace, at times facing negative reactions even within the Holy See. Today we have moved beyond any climate of suspicion to one of cooperation and we thank God for the progress that has been made on all sides.
We also thank God for our ability to recognize that the road that we all still have to travel is long. The greatest harm that we could do to the progress that has been made right across the Church is to slip back into a false assurance that the crisis is a thing of the past.
The Anglophone Conference is a unique event. It is not a conference of canonists or survivors, of psychologists or criminologists; it is not a simply gathering of bishops. It is a forum for creative pastoral reflection, it is a gathering in which a wide-ranging group of men and women from different backgrounds and countries try to draw conclusions regarding our responsibilities in addressing what has been a major crisis and stumbling block for the Catholic Church.
The crisis of the sexual abuse of children in the Church is not a chapter of the past history of the Church. Abuse can and does still take place. Abuse will remain a wound in the side of the Church until the day on which every single survivor of abuse has achieved the personal healing he or she deserves.
My starting point in any personal reflection on the scandal of sexual abuse is always that what happened should never have happened in the Church of Jesus Christ. We can argue that the sexual abuse of children takes place right across society and that it is unfair to single out the Catholic Church. We can regurgitate statistics which will tell us that the incidence of such abuse is not significantly higher within the Catholic clergy than in society. But if we come back and repeat to ourselves that what happened should never have happened in the Church of Jesus Christ then we have to put all the comforting statistics to one side and begin to think in a different light.
The sexual abuse of children on the scale in which it happened should never have occurred in the Catholic Church because Jesus himself tells us that children are a sign of the kingdom of God. This means that our understanding of faith and of the kingdom is somehow measured in the manner in which we protect and respect and cherish children or in which we fail children. We know well the strong words of Jesus about those who would injure or harm children.
We need to develop a new awareness that what has happened has wounded the entire Church and that now the entire Church is called to put right what has happened. The entire Church is called to put itself right in its relations with the kingdom and with Jesus Christ. Healing is not just a question for the counselors; it is a theological and ecclesiological necessity.
The only Church response must be one which attempts to bring healing to a wounded Church through robustly responding to all those who have been wounded by abuse. The healing of the Church comes through how the Church works to heal survivors.
The Church must not just be transformed into a place where children are safe. It must also be transformed into a privileged place of healing for survivors. It must be transformed into a place where survivors, with all their reticence and with all their repeated anger toward the Church, can genuinely come to feel that the Church is a place where they will encounter healing. We are not that kind of Church yet: and by far.
The Church which talks about a preferential option for the poor must show unflinchingly a preferential option for those who have been victims of abuse within its fold. There are still within the Church some who play down the realities of abuse, or who take short cuts with regard to established norms and guidelines. In doing so, they damage the Church’s witness to the healing power of Jesus Christ. There is nothing more hurtful to survivors than to find the Church proclaiming norms and then to find that they are not being followed. I was struck to read in some of the national reports for this conference that there are still dioceses or religious congregations which opt out of national norms.
The Church can and should ensure adequate counseling for victims and their families. But it must do more. Healing cannot be delegated. The Church must become the bosom of Christ which lovingly embraces wounded men and women, with all the brutality and unattractiveness of wounds. Wounds cannot be sanitized from a distance. The Good Samaritan is the one who carries the wounded man in his own arms.
Bishops and superiors have to ensure that survivors are made to feel truly welcome when they turn to Church authorities. One survivor told me that while she was received by her local priest correctly, in the sense that all the boxes of the norms were correctly ticked, she still had the enduring impression that the priest would have much preferred that she had not come to him and that she we would go away as quickly as possible and that the counselors would take over.

Go Beyond Human Prudence

The words of Jesus about leaving the ninety-nine to go out to find the one who is lost refers also to our attitude to victims. To some it might seem less than prudent to think that the Church would go out of its way to seek out even more victims and survivors. There are those who say that that would only create more anguish and litigation and that it would be asking for trouble and would be more than a little ingenuous. The problem is that what Jesus says about leaving the ninety and going out after the one who is lost is in itself unreasonable and imprudent, but, like it or not, that it precisely what Jesus asks us to do.
Jesus teaches us through parables that are all marked by exaggeration. They are all about something that we can never figure out within our own human categories: the gratuitousness and superabundance of God’s love which always requires us to go the extra mile beyond what is humanly considered as prudent or appropriate or even the best. It is, however, when we reflect that superabundant love of God in the way we live in the Church that we also see fruits produced which go beyond human expectation.
Remember those twelve baskets of food which remain after Jesus had undertaken the humanly unreasonable task of feeding a large crowd with meager means. Jesus’ generosity goes way beyond human prudence.
We have to reach out to all those who are involved in abuse. We have a responsibility toward perpetrators to bring them to a realization of what they have done and to make reparation through living a different life. Jesus is the one who shows mercy, but not cheap forgiveness. Careful monitoring and support of perpetrators is a contribution to creating a safe environment for children within the Church as well as helping perpetrators to lead more healthy lives.
Our care must also reach out to the many who may seem only to have been marginally touched by abuse. I think of parish communities. I spent an evening only last week with a small parish community whose priest had recently been imprisoned for serious abuse. It was a community whose trust in themselves and in the Church had been deeply wounded.
Our care must reach out in a special way to our young people who are hypersensitive to any contrast between what the Church preaches and what is done within its walls. Many young people have been wounded in their ability to come to know Jesus because of their disgust at what has happened to children in the Church.
The answers to all these multiple wounds will not come from slick public relations gestures or even from repeated words of apology. They will come from creating a new vision of a healing Church. A healing Church will not be from the outset a perfect Church. The Church must first of all recognize within her own life how compromise and insensitivity and wrong decisions have damaged the witness of Church.
The art of healing is learned only in humility. Arrogance is never the road toward healing. Healing is not something we can package and hand over safe and sound to someone else and then we can go off safely and happily on our own way. Healing involves journeying together. The healer needs humility and personal healing if he or she is to journey really with those who are wounded. The duration of the process of healing is not measured by the time on our watch, but by the watch and the time of the other.

Learning From Survivors

The crisis of the sexual abuse of children over these past decades has wounded the Church of Jesus Christ. The response must come from the entire Church which will only attain the healing it desires when it welcomes our brothers and sisters who have survived abuse as Jesus would have welcomed them. We are not there to tell the survivors what they have to do, but together to find new ways of interacting with respect and care.
I can say that I have never gone away from a conversation with a survivor of child sexual abuse without having learned something new, even if our encounter may have been marked by anger and aggression toward the Church.
My ministry has greatly benefited from what I have learned — and at times learned in a hard way — from survivors. That is why I ask not just their forgiveness for what happened to them, but I am grateful to them for what they have done for me.

+    +    +

(© 2014 Innovative Media Inc.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Having watched the first session of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting, and that fact that the Pope has ordered them not vote on any action items, I have to ask, what is the point of this meeting? What is the point of National Bishops' Conferences?

Load More...

US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider officially asking Pope Francis to release any documents related to alleged serial sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The motion was made from the…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of life, marriage, and family, has “strongly” endorsed a new virtue education program for children. “Alive to the World” is a continuous, story-based virtues/values program. Much…Continue Reading

Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church’s current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a “transformation…Continue Reading

Twitter locks LifeSite out of account for ‘hate’: fact-based post on rise in gay STDs

October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has just locked LifeSiteNews out of our Twitter account over an article we posted four years ago that provided expert analysis on the rise in sexually-transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The 2014 piece by Dr. Gerard M.…Continue Reading

Ave Maria U president who criticized Cdl. Burke, Archbishop Viganò announces resignation

AVE MARIA, Florida, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just six weeks after he issued a statement criticizing Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Ave Maria University (AMU) announced its president Jim Towey will step down in June 2020. Vigano’s 11-page testimony…Continue Reading

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media. The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on…Continue Reading

Youth Synod Archbishop apologizes to young Catholics for sex abuse, ‘unbeautiful liturgies’

ROME, October 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, has issued an extensive mea culpa at the Vatican Youth Synod for all the ways in which the hierarchy and members of the Church have failed young people — whether…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Abp. Viganò urges U.S. bishops to confront sex abuse as ‘courageous shepherds’

ROME, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has issued a brief note to the U.S. Bishops, urging them to confront sex abuse as “courageous shepherds” rather than “frightened sheep.” The U.S. Bishops are currently in Baltimore at their much-anticipated fall annual meeting at which they were expected to vote on concrete proposals to hold bishops accountable for their failures after the reve

Pope Francis . . . “First, there is the immense and ongoing crisis of climate change and the nuclear menace”

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Consistory Hall Monday, 12 November 2018 [Multimedia]   Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to meet the full complement of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. I offer cordial welcome to the new Members and I am grateful to the former President, Professor Werner Arber for his gracious words of introduction, while I pray that Professor Joachim von…Continue Reading

Vatican orders U.S. bishops to halt plans for vote on sex-abuse reforms

BALTIMORE – The first gathering of the nation’s Catholic bishops since a summer wave of anger and recrimination over clergy sex abuse in the American church opened Monday with a stunning announcement: The prelates would not vote on a series of new accountability measures – and it was the Vatican who ordered them to hold off.

Our Veterans Fought and Died For Our Freedom, Not for Abortion

(Reprinted from 2013) In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, thirty men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, huddled close together in landing craft churning through the dark waters of the English Channel on a mission unlike any other the world had ever known. Their destination: a strip of sand known as Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Most of the thoughts running through the minds of these young men are lost to…Continue Reading

US bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development continues to fund pro-abortion, pro-LGBT groups

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Grants from the U.S. Bishops’ domestic anti-poverty arm are again benefitting groups associated with support for abortion and open homosexuality, new reports from the Lepanto Institute say. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) encourages Catholics to support its Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which it says helps those on the margins. Yet in the last several years, roughly half a million dollars, much of which…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Conflicting Rights In A Divided Nation

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON The Senate Judiciary hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice of the Supreme Court were brutal to his personal reputation, devastating to the comity of the congressional body, and inflammatory in an already divided nation. Protesters shouted in the hearing room, had sit-ins in the hall, accosted a senator…Continue Reading

The Paradox Of The Person

By DONALD DeMARCO The first law of nature is self-preservation. The highest law of morality is self-sacrifice. What the content these two sentences makes abundantly clear is that the life of the human being is one of perpetual tension. Self-preservation and self-sacrifice are not exactly on the same page. However, it is important to note…Continue Reading

Mass Migration: Mortal Threat To Red State America

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Among the reasons Donald Trump is president is that his natural political instincts are superior to those of any other current figure. As campaign 2018 entered its final week, Trump seized upon and elevated the single issue that most energizes his populist base and most convulses our media elite. Warning of…Continue Reading

Shawnee State . . . Professors Must Speak Contrary To Their Beliefs Or Be Punished

CINCINNATI — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against Shawnee State University officials Monday, November 5 on behalf of a professor that the university punished because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns (“Miss,” “she,” etc.). Although philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether…Continue Reading

Trump Administration… Announces New Conscience Exemptions For HHS Mandate

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — The Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor released two updated rules concerning conscience protections for organizations and individuals in relation to the HHS contraception mandate. Under the new rules, organizations and individuals objecting to the controversial mandate’s provisions on either religious or moral grounds will be exempt. According…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Indifference

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog, which appeared there on November 5, 2018. All rights reserved.) + + + The Gospel for Tuesday of the 31st Week features the Lucan version of the parable about…Continue Reading

Shine Brightly Like The Stars

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Daniel 12:1-3 Heb. 10:11-14, 18 Mark 13:24-32 In the Gospel reading today our Lord teaches us about what will happen at the end of the world: The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will be falling from the sky, and the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Life Is Beautiful With Final Judgment In View

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prospect of final judgment brings negative impressions, images, or emotions to mind for many. Sometimes it also does so for some who claim our Catholic faith. As a step along the way to spiritual maturity, we must often be purged of our childish or worldly impressions. With an authentic and deeper faith, the prospect…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Holy Orders… More On Women Priests — Why Not?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 4 The participation of women in the life of the Catholic Church over the centuries has been remarkable. Without being priests, women have played a major role in the instruction of the faithful, service of the sick and needy, and the works of the apostolate. The work of spreading the Gospel, as early as in…Continue Reading

Humility — Foundation Of The Spiritual Life

By DON FIER As has been demonstrated over the past two weeks, temperance is the cardinal virtue that “moderates the attraction of pleasures, assures the mastery of the will over instincts, and provides balance in the use of created goods” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 383). Although most often associated with man’s innate appetitive drives to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Elizabeth Of The Trinity

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a woman receives the Carmelite habit, she also receives a new name. St. Teresa of Avila received the name “of Jesus” and St. Therese of Lisieux received the name “of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.” Likewise, when Elizabeth Catez became a Carmelite and received her name, she was given the title “of the Trinity,”…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is…Continue Reading