It is with great sorrow that I address the horrific stories in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report detailing the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy. It is shameful to think that some bishops and others in positions of authority would have failed to recognize the gravity of child abuse and not taken greater steps to stop it.
I know this has been hurtful and confusing to the faithful. It is even more painful to the survivors of clergy abuse who are forced to relive their trauma when they hear additional accounts of evil perpetrated against more than a thousand innocent children. The wounds of betrayal continue to be reopened.
I know that words alone cannot express the anger and pain that many are feeling. Only Jesus can bring about healing in the midst of such darkness and brokenness.
Many people have lost trust in the Catholic Church, and words are empty without action. Here in the Diocese of Brooklyn, we continue to urge anyone who is a victim of sexual abuse, or is aware of sexual abuse committed by a member of the clergy, a diocesan employee, or volunteer to report it. Allegations called into the diocesan reporting line at 1-888-634-4499 will be immediately turned over to law enforcement and callers will be met with compassion, support, and concern.
We are committed to ensuring that children and the most vulnerable are protected, that victim-survivors are heard, and that protocols to immediately and directly report allegations to law enforcement are strictly followed. Our Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) has allowed hundreds of victims to seek some sense of closure and compensation.
The Church has come a long way over the past 15 years, but we must never become complacent. We must never stop working to understand and protect against the evil that has hurt and even destroyed so many within our Church. And we must remain committed to regaining the trust of the faithful.