This weekend (Aug.18/19), Fathers Joy and Fallon shared this message at all Masses:
"Last week's grand jury report concerning allegations of the molestation of perhaps 1,000 children by as many as 300 priests in Pennsylvania has been deeply disturbing to all of us. The crimes outlined in the grand jury's report reveal a pattern of crimes that occurred over many decades.
This is a terrible chapter in the long process of bringing into the light horrific acts that have been kept in darkness. Too often, the leadership of the Church--the hierarchy--has failed in responding to these events, and failures of the hierarchy must also be brought into the light.
Far too often Church leaders have simply not done their duty to prevent the abuse of children and other vulnerable people by clergy. In response to allegations of abuse, too often, bishops have acted in ways that were morally and legally wrong, and inconsistent with the faith and Christian values they profess, and which we profess.
The hierarchy often failed to care for victims and has failed to deal properly with the priests accused of these moral and legal crimes.
As we prayerfully reflect on these awful facts, there are two things we must NOT do.
First, we must not make excuses. There can be no excuses for the conduct of these priests and no excuses for the hierarchy's failures to respond as God would have us do and as the law demands of us.
Second, we must never blame the victims, or their parents. When sexual abuse occurs, it is always, always the responsibility of the adult abuser.
How to go forward?
Our parish and our diocese have programs in place to prevent sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of our youth, including required training for all church employees and volunteers who have contact with our youth. If you want to learn more about these programs, we have a summary posted on our church website.
We must pray for healing. Our first prayer must always be for the victims and their families. We must pray that, even though they have been violated by priests, even if Church leadership has failed them, God is with them. God loves them.
And we pray for the Church--that the Church will work tirelessly to prevent abuse and to respond properly when abuse occurs and is brought into the light. We must pray for justice--that justice be done to the surviving perpetrators of these crimes, and done to those members of the hierarchy who, because of what they have done and what they have failed to do, must be appropriately judged.
But prayer is not enough. We must confess. We must make reparations. We must continue to act to prevent these crimes and to respond appropriately to those that come to our attention."