“As shepherd of the Catholic Church in Atlanta and united with my brother bishops under Pope Francis in service to Jesus Christ and His Church, I express my profound anger, sadness, and distress concerning sexual abuse by Church leaders of children, young people and those whom they exercise authority. My anger and disappointment, shared by Catholic and others, are only heightened by the reality that leaders who have been engaged in or neglected to protect others from such damaging and deviant behavior have for many years failed to be held accountable – and have even risen in leadership positions. We must do better – for the sake of all victims and survivors of sexual abuse, and for the sake of everyone whom we serve in the name of Jesus Christ.”
“Catholics everywhere, myself among them, are stunned and justifiably angry at shameful, unrelenting recent revelations of bishops accused of abuse or mishandling allegations of abuse – behavior that offends and scandalizes the people of God entrusted to our care.”
“We are weary of the cloud of shame that continue to shroud Church leadership and compromise our mission. I am personally disheartened because in 2002 I stood before the body of bishops and made assurances in my own name and that of the Church in the United States that the crisis of faith in leadership was over and would not be repeated. I sincerely believed that the unprecedented steps we took at that time would help heal this wound in the Body of Christ. And so they have, though obviously not completely or even sufficiently.”
“I pray that this moment, and these days, weeks, and months ahead, will be an opportunity for light to break through the darkness, and for the darkness to be exposed to the light. I pray that all victims and survivors of sexual abuse will come forward and receive the help, support, and healing they need. And I pray that our Church and our leadership will be renewed and transformed by the light of Christ and have the courage to take the necessary next steps.”
“Like so many of you, I am angry, but I am not overcome by despair. I hope and I pray that the Holy Spirit will cleanse and strengthen the Church. My anger had not led me to hopelessness. I pray yours has not either. I am grateful for your witness of faith and hope even in difficult times.”
Archbishop Gregory’s remarks in their entirety can be found on the Parish website. Please continue to pray for our Church and its people in this time of trial.
Fr. Neil Herlihy