As we face this abhorrent crisis in the Catholic Church, the pain and suffering goes far and wide. Many victims of sexual abuse by clergy will have to relive the abhorrent experiences again. As a Church we must keep them in the very forefront of our minds, hearts and prayers.
Published reports about these criminal allegations and the lack of appropriate response by some bishops over many decades are deeply disturbing. The betrayal by Church leaders runs deep in the hearts of victims, and rightfully so.
Further questions have arisen in the released testimony from the former Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, in which he makes serious allegations about the Archbishop McCarrick abuse case. I join my voice with Cardinal DiNardo and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Executive Committee in calling for the Holy See to conduct a thorough investigation that includes granting authority to a lay commission to examine the many questions that surround the case of Archbishop McCarrick.
As Cardinal DiNardo said on August 27, “The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.”
These horrific actions bring deep sadness and shame to all of us who love the Church so dearly. My sincere apologies and prayers go out to all victims and their families – anyone who has been affected by this scandal.
As Catholics, we believe that Christ has not and will not abandon his Church. He promised to be with us always – and he is living with us through this crisis. He looks out over his beloved Bride, the Church, and weeps with us. But we live in faith and hope that Jesus, as we surrender ourselves to him, keeping our gaze upon this “crucified One”, will lead us to a new place where the Gospel can be preached and lived with faithfulness and love, thus bearing new life in the world.
We also ask Mary, Mother of Mercy, our Mother, to pour out her mercy upon our Church and our families, so that all victims may experience the healing love of her Son.
I invite all Catholics to join me in prayer and fasting in reparation for the sins and failings of those who abused their power and authority leading to the injury of others, especially our children. We must never forget those who have been harmed by the Church. May our prayers and sacrifices bring true healing, conversion and holiness to all.
Sincerely in the peace of Christ,
Bishop Robert D. Gruss
Bishop of Rapid City