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Holy See published report on former cardinal

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

November 18, 2020

On October 6, 2018, Pope Francis decided to carry out a thorough examination of all records preserved in the Archives of the Holy See regarding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, in order to determine the relevant facts of his tenure as priest, bishop and cardinal, placing them in their historical context so as to evaluate them objectively in light of allegations of sexual misconduct.

This inquiry was “extended to include information drawn from persons and ecclesiastical institutions with knowledge of events, in order to achieve a more accurate and complete account of the facts,” according to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State. Over ninety witnesses were interviewed. This report did not intend to examine the issue of his culpability under canon law inasmuch, as that has already been adjudicated.

Yesterday, this long-awaited report of the investigation by the Holy See into its awareness of allegations of sexual misconduct of the former cardinal and the Holy See’s decision-making process was published. Shame, embarrassment, and deep sorrow welled up within me as it always surfaces when I reflect on this evil. This report tells the sordid story of moral corruption and institutional mistakes that has devastated the lives of so many.

Every day I pray that those who have been abused by Church leaders will find healing. I am writing these thoughts on Veteran’s Day. We are so aware of the many brave veterans who have encountered the terrible world of violence, terror, and death while serving in harm’s way in defense of our nation. Many veterans continue to be impacted by their terrorizing experience, suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some of those victimized by abhorrent sexual abuse by trusted clergy suffer similar trauma. Unless we have walked in the shoes of those who have endured such realities, we will never appreciate the depth of the pain. Those who approach a Church leader should never fear that he or she is walking in harm’s way.

Our diocese has been addressing this horrific scandal for decades in a determined manner. We have instituted safe environment policies and procedures to prevent sexual abuse from happening and holding accountable those who would inflict such harm. These procedures ensure that allegations are responsibly and justly handled when they are received.

I repeat our earnest desire that those who have suffered such betrayal of trust to contact our Diocesan Assistance Coordinator at terrianneyanulavich@yahoo.com or Father Christopher Carrara at 315-393-2920, ext.1340.

How could this happen in our Church? Sin affects everyone in the community. Evil lurks. We are grateful to Pope Francis for his determination that this painful story be told. We pray that those who have been abused may experience Christ’s profound love for them and know of our resolution to be an instrument of healing and hope.

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