For those of you who may not have seen earlier briefings, I have prepared this Archbishop’s Leadership Briefing to keep archdiocesan leaders informed of important developments in the Church, especially in light of the Church’s response to sexual abuse. Please feel free to forward this information to others. Parishes can use parish communication vehicles (websites, email, social media, Flocknote) to spread the word.
1) This month I sat down for a 40-minute interview with Larry Bisig for his WHAS TV show Face Me with Larry Bisig. Larry is the CEO of Bisig Impact Group and a parishioner of Saint Agnes Parish. He and I talked about a wide variety of topics including immigration, Catholic education, sexual abuse in the Church, the relationship of the Church to public officials, and why some Catholic are drifting away from the Church. This segment below begins my discussion with Larry about sexual abuse by clergy in the Church. It is about 10 minutes long. To see the full interview, go here.
2) I thought it would be helpful to share an example of one of the frequently asked questions included in the Report to the Catholic People. The full set of questions can be found here. The question below is one we receive from both parishioners and the media:
Question: What does it mean for a priest who has a substantiated accusation of sexual abuse of a minor to be on “prayer and penance?”
Answer: For priests who have a substantiated accusation of the sexual abuse of a minor, the Holy See applies one of two penalties: dismissal from the clerical state or prayer and penance. The penalty of prayer and penance is applied when the priest is retirement age or beyond and/or suffers from a serious illness. Priests directed to lead a life of prayer and penance may not celebrate Mass publicly or administer the sacraments. They may not wear clerical dress or present themselves publicly as priests. They are not to have any unsupervised contact with minors. These priests have an assigned supervisor and are not permitted to live alone. At this time, the Archdiocese has two priests who are living under this penalty. One lives with a religious community, and the other resides with a family member.
3) The latest edition of Honor Thy Children, the newsletter from our Family Ministries Office on the prevention and education of child abuse, has a good article on the front page entitled “The Holidays and Child Sex Abuse.” See it here.