This page will serve as a source of information and resources surrounding the scandal and we will continue to update it regularly, when new information becomes available.
Spirit Catholic Radio wants to provide our listeners with resources that may be helpful in navigating the difficult waters of the current Catholic Church sexual misconduct scandal.
We also invite you to join us as we pray for the Catholic Church, the victims of abuse, and for the souls of those who have committed or participated (in any way) in the abuse of our society’s most vulnerable people, particularly children. We also pray for the good and Holy priests we know and love in our own parishes and dioceses, as they face challenges associated with their ministry of service during this difficult time.
Prayer for Healing
God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just: You gave your only Son to save us by the blood of his cross. Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them. Hear our cries as we agonize over the harm done to our brothers and sisters. Breathe wisdom into our prayers, soothe restless hearts with hope, steady shaken spirits with faith: Show us the way to justice and wholeness, enlightened by truth and enfolded in your mercy. Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds and transform our brokenness. Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace, so that we may act with justice and find peace in you. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Helpful Articles, Links & Resources
- Becoming the Solution: How Ordinary Catholics Can Help to Reform Their Church
- Facing the Ugliness in the Church – Podcast episode from Archbishop George J. Lucas
- USCCB Statement: Renewal of Commitment for Greater Effectiveness and Transparency in Disciplining Bishops
Statement from the Archdiocese of Omaha
August 25-26, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters Christ,
News in recent weeks has shown that a number of bishops and priests, over many years, have been personally responsible for the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of minors and the abuse of power. Many have been hurt and shamed by this abuse. This hurt and shame are enduring because they took place where people should have been safe and respected. My shame is deepened by the knowledge that so many in positions of responsibility and trust ignored the cries of the victims and turned away when those who are so dear to the Lord needed their protection and care.
Several days ago, I met with a representative group of our archdiocesan priests. We shared experiences of the pain and anger of our parishioners. We spoke of our own desire for proper accountability and for healing in the Church. Like so many of you, my brother priests are hurt and demoralized by what we have heard. Please let me encourage us all to turn to Christ and beg his companionship in these days. I am committing to fast and pray each Thursday, for mercy and healing for the Church, and I have invited our priests to join me.
In addition, the priests have encouraged me in my commitment to insist with the other bishops of this country that there be structures put in place for judging allegations of misconduct on the part of bishops. All must be able to have confidence that there are transparent and effective ways for bishops to be held accountable for their actions.
Here in the Archdiocese of Omaha, we remain committed to the protection of children, young people, and vulnerable adults. We remain committed to healing for victims of past abuse. In cooperation with members of law enforcement, we remain committed to responding deliberately and professionally to any claims of abuse. Anyone concerned about the actions of clergy or any Church worker should contact our Manager of Victim Outreach and Prevention, Mary Beth Hanus, at 402-827-3798 or toll-free at 1-888-808-9055.
Be assured of my prayers for all of you in the days ahead and of my gratitude for the privilege of serving as your archbishop.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend George J. Lucas
Archbishop of Omaha
Statement from the Diocese of Grand Island
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This past week I was sickened to learn about the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report detailing the sexual abuse of children by priests across Pennsylvania over the past 70 years. Particularly devastating was the finding that bishops and other church leaders had covered up these crimes instead of reporting them.
I am deeply ashamed that those in positions of authority have acted in this way. Sexual abuse is about the most extreme violation that anyone could inflict upon another person. For a priest or bishop to do so is unspeakable. In the case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the one entrusted to ensure the safety of others, was himself the problem.
This evil needs to be cast out of our church. I am committed to act upon any report of sexual abuse and misconduct by a member of the clergy or Parish staff member that I receive as bishop of this diocese.
Every person is precious, unique, gifted and graced. Each of us is a never-to-be-repeated wonder in all of God’s creation. Safe-guarding the dignity of every person, especially young persons, must be the paramount duty of the church, starting with me as Bishop.
If you are suffering this great evil or if you learn that someone is a victim of sexual misconduct, please encourage them to bring it forward. I am saddened that because bishops were a part of this problem, people may be hesitant to trust me with this information. If you are unable to tell me, instead please contact Beth Heidt-Kozisek, our Victim Assistance Coordinator by calling 1-800-652-2229 or emailing her at email@example.com, or another member of our Diocesan Review Board, or report it to the police. If you are willing to meet with me, I want to hear your story and help you in anyway that I can to bring justice and healing to your life.
Only Jesus can heal this wound in our lives and in our Church. Turn to him with all that this stirs up in you. Speak to him of your anger, your sadness and your pain. Be courageous in your prayer and in your pursuit of what is good and right, what is pure and holy.
With equal strength I want to thank all our faithful priests for their genuine pastoral care of souls. Their dedication to the support and healing of victims and their families, and their years of dedicated service to all of you, is a source of hope and encouragement in this dark time. Let us remember that our hope is in Christ.
Please pray for me, that I may help bring love and mercy, healing and compassion to all who are suffering from this great failure of leadership in our Church.
If you or someone you care about are suffering the pain of abuse, the Church wants to help. Please contact our Victim Assistance Coordinators to report church-related incidents of abuse or to seek support and find resources.
|Elizabeth Heidt, Ph.D.
|Cheryl Albright, M.S.
Rev. Jose Chavez
Statement from the Diocese of Lincoln
Seeking the truth
Friday, 31 August 2018
By Bishop James Conley
Published in the Bishop’s Column, Southern Nebraska Register
The last few weeks have been painful to endure. The report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury, the revelations about the crimes of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and, just days ago, new, highly charged allegations about the Church’s leadership all the way to the top levels in the Vatican have left us reeling. These reports have caused all of us pain, anger, shame and grief. It is hard to fathom how such things could happen.
My first feeling in every one of these revelations is deep sadness for the pain and suffering of all those who have been sexually assaulted. What I do in these moments is surrender myself to prayer, at the foot of the Cross with Mary, solely focused on these hurt people.
The suffering and pain, the loss of trust and shattering of faith in those who represent Jesus Christ as priests, and the betrayal by some Church leaders is unimaginable. Priests are called to be spiritual fathers for their people, and bishops are called to be shepherds of their flock, to protect the souls in their care. We know now that some priests and some bishops have failed in their fidelity to Jesus Christ.
We sometimes forget the spiritual roots of evil, and we often forget that our sacrifices — our prayers, our fasting, and our mortifications — can bring the grace of Christ’s suffering on the cross into a situation of evil. But when we offer sacrifices, in union with Christ on the cross, we share, by his grace, in the power of his redemption. Christ makes all things new — and he purifies, transforms, and redeems.
My focus must be here, in the Diocese of Lincoln. As your bishop, I am called to do more than pray and fast. I must take tangible steps to build a culture of purity, integrity, and accountability — a culture that, starting with me, puts the safety and holiness of children and families above any other interest or need.
I have had meetings with the faithful in various parishes, and last week I met with my priests. The focus of all of this is caring for victims and the challenging work it will take to bring about real change.
From the outset I have required new objectivity to make sure all the decisions are right and just. I have relied on advisors from the Archdiocese of Omaha and other lay advisors. I am announcing staff changes.
Specifically, Msgr. Mark Huber will become our new vicar general, Father Steven Snitily will become judicial vicar, and Father Christopher Goodwin will become our vicar for clergy. I have asked these new advisors to challenge our policies and practices, and I know they will do so.
As I have been listening to people in the diocese, as well as experts across the country, about how to properly investigate the issues that have come up, I have learned that we will need the laity to take an active role in this whole process. The consistent response from people in our diocesan community is that laity and priests from this state are the best resource to get to the truth. We are presently in the process of enlisting the assistance of local laity and clergy from our diocese, and the Archdiocese of Omaha, to be part of a task force. This independent group will review these matters, look at how these issues were handled in the past, and help me move forward with the very best practices. I am also cooperating with all ongoing investigations and any requests of law enforcement. All who are involved in any part of this work will be focused on the truth.
This will be a painful time, but know that there will be openness and we will all become stronger and purified by this fire.
I ask for your continued patience and prayers, and please remain open minded and know that I will serve the diocesan community with all my heart. Be assured of my prayers for all of you.