Archbishop Kurtz’ statement on the grand jury report

Following is a statement issued by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz Aug. 15 in response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse in six of the state’s dioceses.

STATEMENT

As a native of Pennsylvania and a priest ordained for the Diocese of Allentown, I find this report deeply painful and grieve for those who have been hurt by these terrible situations. It is a troubling indictment that Church leadership, called to holiness and chastity, did not provide an example for all of society in dealing with these issues. The first step in any process of reconciliation and healing lies in admitting the wrongs that happened. We can only be healthy as a Church and as a society if we honestly confront and deal with sexual abuse and harassment on all levels.

We are committed as a family of God to respect the dignity of every human being. In doing so, we must renew and strengthen efforts to reach out to victims, promptly communicate with law enforcement, remove offenders, and foster a safe environment for children, youth, and adults in our Church. I join with Cardinal DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Doherty, Chair of the USCCB’s Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, in their statement responding to the Pennsylvania grand jury report:

“The report of the Pennsylvania grand jury again illustrates the pain of those who have been victims of the crime of sexual abuse by individual members of our clergy, and by those who shielded abusers and so facilitated an evil that continued for years or even decades. We are grateful for the courage of the people who aided the investigation by sharing their personal stories of abuse. As a body of bishops, we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops.

We are profoundly saddened each time we hear about the harm caused as a result of abuse, at the hands of a clergyman of any rank. The USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and the office of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection will continue to offer avenues to healing for those who have been abused. We are committed to work in determined ways so that such abuse cannot happen.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report covers a span of more than 70 years. In 2002 the U.S. Catholic bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which commits us to respond promptly and compassionately to victims, report the abuse of minors, remove offenders and take ongoing action to prevent abuse. This Charter was revised and updated in 2011 and again in 2018. We pledge to maintain transparency and to provide for the permanent removal of offenders from ministry and to maintain safe environments for everyone.  All policies and procedures regarding training and background check requirements are made publicly available by dioceses and eparchies. 

We pray that all survivors of sexual abuse find healing, comfort and strength in God’s loving presence as the Church pledges to continue to restore trust through accompaniment, communion, accountability and justice.”       

Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
Archbishop of Louisville
August 15, 2018       

 

3 Comments

  • Gregory F House says:

    Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
    Archbishop of Louisville

    Regarding your support of Cardinal DiNardo’s above, are you and the esteemed Cardinal willing to convene an independent (read non-clerical), taskforce of the laity to investigate abuse and the cover-up within the Church in America?

  • Mary Switten says:

    God made man. He made us ALL with needs and desires and He did this intentionally. Celibacy is not human nature. The fact that the church demand that these
    men live their lives without intimacy and companionship, is a huge factor in why this is so prevalent. We are asking these priests to go against their God given nature. I am not making excuses for them. , but we have to ask ourselves if celibacy should be re-considered. Take away a mans food and he will do most anything to feed his hunger.

  • Howard Hines says:

    As a youngster growing up in Louisville, I was nurtured in the faith by very saintly priests and nuns at St. Frances Of Rome Church. I don’t doubt that there could have been a few wayward priests way back then, human nature being what it can be, but relatively speaking there were but few, thank God. I was fortunate to have Xaverian Brothers at St. X High School, and Benedictine Monks at a boarding school for a high school education. What most of us do not recognize and realize are the deleterious effects of the disastrously foul effects of misguided and allowed misinterpretations of Vatican II had on the whole life of the church, and on society in general. While the American Catholic Hierarchy permitted this, they were not alone in the world.. Rampantly, although unwittingly, spread were modernism’s appendages, among which were concepts overtaking the church and society at large, i.e., no absolutes, and all things were fundamentally in the nature of relativity. The Church was placed on a course of self destruction. Very clearly there needs to be a revisitation to Vatican II for some fundamental clarifications. First, the council was not a dogmatic one, as had been other councils. Pope St. John XXIII announced this in the initial calling of the council, and upon his deathbed was noted that he said that his calling for the Council was an error. We need a restoration of our Church; we never asked for a Peritii iteration of what they in their misguided thinking wrought about. What a tragedy this has been for us all. The liturgy needs to be given an update to what it was, alongside the Novus Ordo, so that there can be ultimately a merger of the two. Each parish should have at least one Tridentine Mass offered each Sunday, so that a gradual renewal can take place. Jesus did not start a movement which was democratic, as such. He was quite didactic and dogmatic. Clergy at all levels who deviate from the norms of saintly behavior should be sacked, with sac cloth and ashes, kneeling outside Cathedral doors on Sundays!

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