Women are still barred from taking the priesthood in the Catholic Church, but Pope Francis has made some other small tweaks to the rules he thinks the ladies are gonna be pretty excited about. Thanks to the Cool Pope’s new amendments, per the Washington Post, women will now have the right to act as readers and altar servers during mass, and even to administer Communion.
If you, like me, are confused by this news because you’re pretty sure you can recall receiving a dry wafer from a woman at church before, you’re probably not wrong. Many women have already been performing these roles during Catholic mass for years, at the discretion of local bishops or priests, the Washington Post explained. What Pope Francis’s decision does, however, is formalize these roles as a right for women within the Church, one they cannot be denied on the basis of their sex. Previously, while women in many parts of the world were permitted to serve in these positions, individual Church authorities still retained, and sometimes executed, the right to enforce male-only altar services. Thanks to the Pope’s most recent decision, that will no longer be an option.
“Francis, on one side, is merely acknowledging reality on the ground, as it is right now,” said Massimo Faggioli, a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University. “But this is important because the [conservative] bishops have been contradicted, openly, by Pope Francis.”
Essentially, this all makes for a relatively insignificant shift in policy that falls far short of the large-scale changes needed within the Catholic Church to render its culture anything approaching progressive. While the Pope has characterized the decision as a step toward recognizing the “precious contribution” women are still capable of making to the Church despite not being men, any hope of claiming the priesthood remains distant for women of the Catholic faith.
“We’re still 100 steps behind the historic moment that we live,” said Cristina Simonelli, president of an Italian association of female theologians, who added that while Francis’s move marks a “minimal” step forward, it’s still “better than standing still.”
Anyway, congrats to the Catholic women who now have the Pope-sanctioned right to continue doing the same things they’ve been doing all along, and nothing more.
Their ranks include ex-federal prosecutors, a retired judge, a one-time assistant police chief, even a former priest. But a group of prominent Catholics say they still can’t get an audience with Seattle’s new archbishop in their push to address the fallout of a lingering scandal.
Members of Heal Our Church, a Seattle-based alliance of practicing Catholics who seek a public review of how the Roman Catholic Church’s worldwide sexual abuse scandal secretly festered within the parishes of Western Washington, contend they’re being stonewalled by Archbishop Paul Etienne.
Since requesting a meeting with Etienne in January, group members said the archbishop has refused to discuss their call for a citizen-led review of the Seattle Archdiocese’s private records on clergy abuse. Group members contend only full disclosure of the secret files — with a public airing about the archdiocese’s known pedophile clergy members and how the church dealt with them — can ultimately heal the church and rebuild trust within the broader community.
“What we’re proposing is not radical,” said Clark Kimerer, a retired Seattle police assistant chief and core member of Heal Our Church. “It’s truth and reconciliation — a time-tested process that provides healing.”
But so far, Etienne has responded with only impersonal, pro-forma letters that dispute the necessity for such an initiative, group members said.
In a recent email, a spokesperson for the archdiocese partly blamed the coronavirus lockdown for scuttling the archbishop’s plan for an in-person discussion with the group.
“We had a meeting set but the pandemic came, which postponed this meeting,” according to the archdiocese’s email. “This is a meeting that would be better done in person, which can’t be done right now.”
But the email added that a “thorough outside review of the files by qualified lay people (and) a review of allegations by a group of qualified lay experts has already been done.”
Before Etienne’s appointment to Seattle in 2019, the archdiocese undertook various efforts to examine and address clergy sexual-abuse cases. They included creating a case review board in 2004 to examine child sex-abuse claims against several priests, and hiring former FBI-agent-turned-consultant Kathleen McChesney to evaluate the archdiocese’s clergy-abuse archives. McChesney’s review resulted in the archdiocese’s 2016 publication of a list naming 77 clergy members with credible accusations of rape or other abuse dating back decades.
Etienne has since established a pastoral council to take input from the laity, and the archdiocese continues to keep a review board of appointed citizens for consultation on sex-abuse cases, the email said. It also has quietly updated its “credibly accused” list with the names of scores of clergy on loan from other dioceses or religious orders who worked in Western Washington schools and churches but were left off the archdiocese’s initial accounting.
“Given our history and deep commitment to healing and transparency, as well as our deep respect for and trust in the experts like Kathleen McChesney and review board members, we are not planning to replace them or create parallel structures or processes,” the archdiocese’s email said.
But the church’s efforts to date have failed to fully address the scandal and continue to promote secrecy, according to the Heal Our Church group members.
They contend the archdiocese has failed to explicitly reveal how much church officials knew about credibly accused clergy members and when they first learned of individual abuse allegations. The archdiocese also hasn’t provided details as to whether its high-ranking officials played any role in enabling or covering up cases of abuse, and if so, why that happened, the members said.
“There’s never been discussion of the how and why this all evolved,” said Terry Carroll, a retired King County judge. “We think a lot has to do with the bishops and decisions by the church, but there’s been no real accountability for that era because the whole story hasn’t been told.”
At times, such details have separately emerged in lawsuits brought against the archdiocese by abuse victims. In one case, the archdiocese’s required legal disclosures of portions of the secret file kept on one notorious priest, the Rev. Michael Cody, showed the late Seattle Archbishop Thomas Connolly knew Cody was a pedophile but nonetheless moved him from parish to parish. After The Seattle Times detailed the case in 2016, Seattle University removed Connolly’s name from its athletics and recreation center.
Carroll and Mike McKay, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, both served on the Seattle Archdiocese’s first review panel. They’ve since become outspoken critics of what they’ve described as the archdiocese’s opaque handling of the scandal. The two were among a core group who helped launch Heal Our Church and the latest push for more transparency.
More than 250 practicing Catholics in the Seattle Archdiocese have signed on as supporters of the group, including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes. Heal Our Church, which runs a website to promote its cause, hosted a webinar in October and invited Etienne, but the archbishop was a no-show.
The group plans to broaden its effort in the New Year and hasn’t ruled out taking legal action, Kimerer and Carroll said.
Released in November, the 449-page report found that years of allegations against McCarrick were ignored or covered up by bishops and other officials, allowing him to rise to the highest levels of Catholic church hierarchy. But the report downplayed the roles of surviving officials, placing the lion’s share of blame on the late Pope John Paul II.
“They tend to come together and circle the wagons when things go wrong,” Sullivan said of church authority.
The pandemic appears to be the archdiocese’s latest excuse for putting off dealing with the latest calls for transparency, Sullivan added.
“We’ve offered to meet virtually or with social distancing,” he said. “But (the archdiocese) refused those opportunities.”
Group members contend that ignoring the church faithful’s efforts for a definitive public airing only serves to further undermine the archdiocese’s credibility and diminish trust at a time of plummeting membership.
“We’re seeing a church in crisis,” said Kimerer, the former assistant police chief. “The faithful (are) leaving the church in droves and credibility is at an all-time low. But if, indeed, the archdiocese has addressed these issues, then why are they so averse to having a lay-led group validate that? We’d call that a clue.”
Residential school survivor Evelyn Korkmaz is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to release thousands of documents that detail the sexual and physical abuse of thousands of Indigenous children at St. Anne’s residential school in the last century.
Korkmaz said the federal government has not turned over 12,300 reports from Ontario Provincial Police investigations of violations at St. Anne’s in Fort Albany, Ont. despite an Ontario Superior Court order.
Following the court order in 2014, Ottawa released heavily redacted copies of materials generated by the OPP between 1992 and 1996.
“They’re useless if they’re redacted,” Korkmaz said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “This is part of Canada’s Indigenous history. We can learn from this.”
St. Anne’s Indian Residential School was run by the Catholic orders of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Grey Sisters of the Cross from 1902 until 1976 and was funded by the federal government starting in 1906.
It was one of Canada’s most notorious residential schools. Indigenous children from Fort Albany First Nation in northern Ontario were sexually abused, punished by shocks delivered in electric chairs and forced to eat their own vomit, according to Edmund Metatawabin, a survivor and former chief of the First Nation.
Metatawabin was forced to attend the school between 1956 and 1963. He became a chief of his nation in 1988 and used his position to sponsor a panel for survivors to share their stories, putting together a report that triggered the police investigation in autumn 1992.
“The residential school issue is a very sensitive case for us. It was an embarrassing thing for us to face.” he said in an interview.
“It’s hard to say you were abused as a child. You want to keep that private.”
Metatawabin said more than 900 survivors of St. Anne’s decided to talk about their painful memories and testified to the police in the 1990s, resulting in a trove of information and criminal convictions of six former employees at the school.
In 2006, lawyers for former students and for the churches that ran residential schools, the Assembly of First Nations, other Indigenous organizations and the government approved the Indian Residential School Settlement, which included independent assessment processes to set compensation for claims of sexual or serious physical abuse.
However, many survivors of St. Anne’s have taken the federal government to court, seeking to reopen compensation cases that were settled before the partial release of the police documents in 2014.
A group of 60 survivors launched a case in 2013, claiming that the federal government failed to turn over those documents and breached the settlement agreement.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell, who has spent years supervising implementation of the settlement agreement, ruled earlier this year the case should be heard by a judge in British Columbia.
Perell had recused himself over his previous criticism of one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
In November, the Ontario Court of Appeal found Perell wrong to order the legal fight to be heard in B.C., saying the case pressed by survivors of St. Anne’s should remain in Ontario. The next hearing is to take place virtually on Dec. 31.
But Justice Brenda Brown of British Columbia Supreme Court issued a court order in May that permits the federal government to destroy the police documents in the new year.
The federal Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Department said in a statement Tuesday the government will retain the police reports until the courts determine the matters before them.
Metatawabin said the documents reveal wrongdoing by the government and the churches. “Instead of making amends, (the government) tried to hide these documents from survivors and from the public.”
The documents have significant value for the Fort Albany First Nation people because they contain elders’ testimonies on their history, Metatawabin said.
“These are sacred words from the elders,” he said. “It’s an insult to the memory of those elders that told their story, that the government took their words from them, and now they want to erase history.”
Korkmaz said these documents are important evidence of the violations committed at St. Anne’s.
“The government for some strange reason is protecting the pedophiles that were at our school,” she said. “A normal citizen of any country, who is caught sexually abusing a child goes to jail. … Why are the priests, the bishops, the cardinals being protected? Why are they allowed to do it?”
A Manhattan woman with a large brood of mostly boys and an Irish husband, she had become suspicious of then-New York Monsignor Theodore McCarrick, who snaked his way into her family and had her children call him “Uncle Ted.’’
Her husband thought it an honor to have a clergyman take an interest in his children. Mother 1, not so.
Her antennae went up when she learned McCarrick gave her sons alcohol when he took them on trips. He continued to visit even after moving to New Jersey, and, one day, she came home to find McCarrick sitting on the couch with a son on either side of him and a hand on the thigh of each.
By then, it was the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to mail identical anonymous letters accusing McCarrick of abuse to every cardinal in the United States and to the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, D.C.
“It’s a club of men who all knew about it and had ignored it,” Mother 1 concluded nearly 40 years later in one of three interviews she gave to an investigator working for the Vatican.
She was right.
Having been ordained in his native New York in 1958, Theodore Edgar McCarrick rose to be an auxiliary bishop there, then crossed the river as the first bishop of the New Jersey’s Metuchen Diocese from 1981-86. He then served as archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese for 14 years before moving to the Washington, D.C., archdiocese and becoming a cardinal.
In all that time, we now know, complaints and rumors of abuse by him fell on deaf ears.
I was among the priests in the Archdiocese of Newark who thought McCarrick’s drippy piety was synthetic. One of our most respected monsignors called him “slippery.”
He was, in fact, a master manipulator who gamed the Catholic system for one goal: to get the red hat of a cardinal, which he did.
The 449-page Vatican “Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930-2017),’’ released Nov. 10 and carrying 1, 400 footnotes, chronicles his rise and demise once credible accusations of sexual abuse of minors surfaced.
Thorough and meticulous in detail, the report includes many salacious details that wouldn’t be expected from something commissioned by the Vatican. It indicts the clerical system – meaning an all-male leadership – but it doesn’t address what the future might hold.
After reading it, I differ on some of the conclusions drawn by other commentators.
SHOW US THE MONEY TRAIL
Most conspicuously absent from the report’s pages is the money trail.
While it asserts that McCarrick was a prodigious fund-raiser and a natural money man, it falls short of showing how he used the largesse of others to ascend the hierarchy, escape scrutiny and still become a cardinal.
“Overall, the record appears to show that although McCarrick’s fundraising skills were weighed heavily, they were not determinative with respect to major decisions made relating to McCarrick,” wrote U.S. lawyer Jeffrey Lena, who investigated him and authored the report.
“In addition, the examination did not reveal evidence that McCarrick’s customary gift-giving and donations impacted significant decisions made by the Holy See regarding McCarrick during any period,” Lena wrote.
But the report fails to account for why so many members of the hierarchy failed to take evidence of alleged abuse seriously and investigate and, at best, stop him in his tracks.
Later the report stated: “McCarrick began in earnest his customary gift giving to Roman Curia and Nunciature officials, a practice that continued through 2017
The Vatican should reveal these gifts, show us the money trail and hold anyone swayed by money over duty responsible. Otherwise, the Vatican continues to be one of the enablers.
In my view, three popes have unfairly come under attack for giving McCarrick a pass. Francis took heat, especially from the former apostolic nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Vigano, for failing to reign in McCarrick.
But the report shows that once definite proof surfaced in June 2017 that McCarrick sexually assaulted children from the time he was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, Francis removed him from the College of Cardinals and eventually defrocked him, removing him from the clerical state and making him a layman. (It’s unknown where McCarrick, now 90, lives although it’s been reported he’s in Florida.)
The report does implicate the late Pope John Paul II for promoting McCarrick to become the archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000 when rumors of his sexual abuse of seminarians and priests — from his time as the first bishop of Metuchen starting in 1981 — were an open secret.
I think this accusation is a stretch since John Paul’s Parkinson’s had evidently debilitated him and he relied on advice from his staff and other members of his curia, who clearly ignored numerous red flags that surfaced.
Pope Benedict XVI made McCarrick retire from the D.C. post in 2006, after he’d turned 75, and did not allow him to stay the usual several years more, which is common for most cardinals. He also imposed loose voluntary measures for McCarrick to keep a low profile and tone down his travels and media presence, which McCarrick flouted.
Even papal warnings did not deter McCarrick from the high life, according to the report.
Up until his mid-80s, McCarrick must have traveled the globe a hundred times.
As archbishop of Newark, he would publish scores of letters sent to the priests recounting his global stops, famous people he met and tireless work for the church. McCarrick had a knack of blowing his own horn to make himself appear more important than he really was.
The report notes that the late John Cardinal O’Connor, though, put a kibosh on that. Perhaps jealous that McCarrick was poaching his big New York donors for the Papal Foundation, which would later on contribute to McCarrick’s red hat, O’Connor called out McCarrick’s alleged sexual abuses in a 1999 letter to the Apostolic Nuncio in D.C. and said he did not want McCarrick to succeed him.
Other members of the hierarchy saw the letter without confirming it ever got to John Paul.
But, as the report says, McCarrick had been buttering up John Paul and especially his personal secretary, now-retired Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, since he was a New York priest and he pulled out all the stops to become archbishop of Washington, D.C.
The report does show failures by several now-deceased New Jersey bishops to stop McCarrick, thus allowing him to continue to abuse. Had his Metuchen successor Edward Hughes, for example, followed up on first-hand testimony from seminarians that he sexually abused them, McCarrick might have gone nowhere.
“He did not want to accept that there was sex abuse in the church, much less by a bishop,’’ an unidentified priest of Metuchen told the investigator. “And, as holy a man as he was, he was also a person who believed that nearly blind obedience to bishops was a foundational principle. So, dealing with an issue like this with regard to the archbishop of Newark would have opened a real crack in that foundation. It was not something that this man was ready to do.”
Back then, the only bishop who stood up to McCarrick was James McHugh, a Newark priest who became Bishop of Camden and is now deceased. The report states that he alerted the D.C. nuncio that McCarrick would take seminarians to a Sea Girt shore house and share a bed with them.
Soon after, the house was sold.
Sadly, the report adds a footnote that McCarrick priest secretaries, almost 30 from Newark alone, had amnesia about McCarrick’s trysts. Nor is there any evidence that seminary rectors, faculty and even bishops from New Jersey and New York were even interviewed or cited in the report.
McCarrick did not get away with this all by himself. He had willing accomplices who did his bidding blindly.
The report cites a chilling conclusion from a 2019 Seton Hall University investigation, not previously released to the public:
“McCarrick created a culture of fear and intimidation that supported his personal objectives. McCarrick used his position of power as then-archbishop of Newark to sexually harass seminarians.”
‘OLD BOYS’ NETWORK’
Another shortcoming of the investigation is that only a handful of women are mentioned in the voluminous report.
Mother Mary Quentin, superior general of a Michigan order of nuns, is named for reporting to the D.C. nuncio in 1994 that she learned that McCarrick abused a priest. The report quotes that the nuncio dismissed her with a snide comment, “She wanted to make herself appear important.”
Calling out the Catholic church’s misogyny, I believe, is a needed prelude to exposing how the clerical system protected McCarrick and allowed him to become a cardinal.
This report also indicts the secretive system of selecting and promoting bishops.
What is needed is “truth telling,” Chestnut Hill Josephite Sister Catherine Nerney told me in a telephone interview.
“The church has not really been upfront and that needs to happen,” said Nerney, a professor of theology and founding director of the Institute of Forgiveness and Reconciliation at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.
‘CONFONT THE EVIL’
After spending time in Rwanda in 2006 to learn how the country tried to heal from the four-month 1994 civil war that took the lives of almost one million citizens, she learned, she said, that the first thing to do in an overwhelming crisis is to “confront the evil
In Rwanda, small groups came together “for the good of society,” she said, to confront the killers.
Comparing the McCarrick report to that process, Nerney said: “The church has hidden so much that it is complicit and corrupt behind its clerical status.”
In other words, clericalism puts an all-male clergy on a pedestal and uses secrecy to handle its own dirty laundry, so to speak, so it can protect its male members.
Back on Sept. 14, 2018. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin led the Archdiocese of Newark in an evening service of Prayer, Reconciliation and Hope in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Hundreds of clergy, religious and laypeople prayed for the survivors of clergy abuse, their families, the accused, and the church.
One abuse survivor preached quite candidly about what a priest did to him. Some priests pushed back, and two subsequent services decreased in attendance and then stopped.
WILL ANY GOOD COME OF IT?
So, where do we go from here?
Since the McCarrick report was released, nothing has been said about any follow-up by the Vatican or any of the local dioceses where McCarrick served as a bishop. And while the release of the report was historic, this failure is a disappointment.
The church needs to report now what it will do to prevent another McCarrick from abusing with impunity – even being promoted to the highest offices as he was — and what protocols will be put in place
First, the process for selecting priests to become bishops and promoting a bishop to become a diocesan bishop needs to become transparent.
Fifty-two Catholic priests who served in Colorado during the last half of the 20th century victimized more than 200 children in that time, according to a sweeping final report on priest sexual abuse released by state officials Tuesday.
But investigators note the church has agreed to large-scale reform.
The 93-page report is the last product of 22 months of work by independent investigators working at the behest of Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.
Led by former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, the group interviewed hundreds of people and analyzed thousands of documents in an attempt to furnish an accurate — and complete — reckoning of 70 years of priest sex abuse in Colorado.
Investigators first publisheda preliminary report more than a year ago, detailing painful accounts of abuse at the hands of priests in the state for more than four decades. Tuesday’s report comes after more victims came forward after the first report.
It adds more details, increases the number of victims, and names several additional priests accused of abuse in Denver and Pueblo — including a high profile Denver priest who started several homeless shelters.
“We cannot overstate the courage it takes for victims to recount their abuse,” the report said. “No one helped us more than the victims themselves. We hope the First Report and this Supplemental Report honor the courage, suffering, sacrifice, and healing of all the victims of clergy child sex abuse.”
The nearly two-year probe, launched by Weiser upon his election in 2018, also aimed to change what Colorado’s dioceses are doing to be safer for children, both now and in the future — including putting into place child-abuse prevention and protection systems.
Those reforms include suspending any priest accused of child sexual misconduct and providing victim-assistance coordinators to anyone who comes forward with an accusation. Each diocese also has substantially improved its records system to facilitate child abuse reporting and coordination with law enforcement.
Most significantly, Colorado dioceses have committed to regular audits of their child-protection systems.
“These important improvements appear to be sound,” the report said. “At this point, though, they are largely untested.”
The final report includes 46 additional incidents of abuse of children, 37 boys and nine girls, by 25 diocesan priests in Colorado that weren’t previously reported.
Sixteen of the 46 newly reported victims were abused by priests who had already been identified to the relevant diocese as a child sex abuser, the report said.
Nine of those priests were previously unreported in the state’s first accounting. They are Father Kenneth Funk, Father Daniel Kelleher, Father James Moreno, Father Gregory Smith and Father Charles Woodrich, from the Denver Archdiocese and Monsignor Marvin Kapushion, Father Duane Repola, Father Carlos Trujillo and Father Joseph Walsh of Pueblo.
Woodrich, who died in 1991, was known as “Father Woody.” He opened the Samaritan House on 23rd and Lawrence for the homeless and was hailed as the “patron saint” for the poor when he died. He was known for giving out cash to homeless people at Christmas.
Woodrich’s victims, three boys, all stepped forward saying Woodrich groomed them while they attended Holy Ghost Parish in Denver, forcing them to engage in sexual contact, oral sex and anal sex, according to the report. The abuse took place in the 1970s and 1980s.
The three victims reported the abuse after the priest was dead and it did not appear that the Denver Archdiocese received any reports on Woodrich engaging in sexual misconduct.
In a statement, Mark Haas, a spokesman for the Denver Archdiocese, said learning about the “sins of former priests” has been extremely difficult.
He said the church has removed Woody’s name from any honorary designations, including buildings, facilities and programs. There were “Father Woody” programs at Regis University and he was the namesake of a day shelter in Denver, called Haven of Hope.
“It is important to note that the ministerial work of the church is the work of Jesus Christ,” Haas said, in a statement. “Not the work of a specific priest.”
Haven of Hope’s executive director, Tawnya Trahan, said on Tuesday the shelter has never had any affiliation with the Catholic Church and that Woody’s name was on the building because the founders were inspired by his work for the poor.
But when allegations surfaced this summer that Woodrich was under investigation, Trahan took the steps to officially strip his name from the enterprise, including filing official paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office.
“What we do here is very positive,” Trahan said. “He never has set foot in our shelter, he never had anything to do with what we do here … We had to protect our work and what we do is incredibly important.”
At Regis University, spokeswoman Jennifer Forker confirmed that the school has “rechristened” the service program to honor the school’s namesake, St. John Francis Regis, who also toiled to serve the poor and needy.
“The name has changed, but the mission has not,” Forker said, in a statement. “We unequivocally support the attorney general and the Archdiocese of Denver for jointly agreeing to this comprehensive, independent and critically necessary review and for the commitment to transparency.”
In Denver, the newly named priests are all deceased, with the exception of Moreno and Haas confirmed the church is working to laicize him. A spokeswoman from the Pueblo Archdiocese said all of the newly named Pueblo priests are dead, except Trujillo, but he has already been laicized.
Weiser said, while painful, he hoped the report brought “meaningful change” to how Colorado dioceses protect children from abuse.
“I recognize there isn’t one program or dollar amount that can make up for the trauma that many have been through in their lives,” Weiser said. “But my sincerest hope is that this unique Colorado program has allowed survivors of sexual abuse by a priest to take one more step on the path to healing and recovery.”
The incidents of abuse, including the newest revelations, took place between 1951 and 1999, with the majority of the abuse occurring in the 1960s, according to the report.
Colorado’s Catholic Church has paid out $7.3 million in settlements to victims as apart of the independent compensation program set up by the state probe.
In October, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila said he wanted to meet with all of the survivors who participated in the program, so he could offer a personal apology.
“I am deeply sorry for the pain and hurt that was caused by the abuse you suffered,” Aquila wrote to the archdiocese community. “I remain steadfastly committed to meeting with any survivor who desires to meet with me and doing everything I can so that the problems of the past never repeat themselves.”
Jeb Barrett, director of Colorado’s chapter of SNAP, or Surviors Network of Those Abused By Priests, said he is grateful for the state’s commitment to pursue the revelations about priest abuse — but is skeptical that the church will really change.
“They love to make it sound like they are doing all they can, but they are doing all that they want to do,” Barrett said. “I don’t know if there is any outside monitoring … I am not confident.”
Indeed, even Weiser stopped short of ensuring the Catholic church would embark on the reforms, as promised.
“If they don’t do it, we would have to see what, if any, oversight there might be,” Weiser said. “I think at a minimum they have put themselves out there and they are in the position for needing to rebuild a reputation that was shattered in this controversy.”
Weiser added that the report was extremely difficult for him to read.
“It was a reckoning that in our society, people who were in positions of trust hurt other people and inflicted trauma,” he said. “We want to tell your story if you wanted it told … The work we have to do is to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”