Bulletin (April 28, 2002)
This Friday our school children will participate in the May Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It will take place during the 8:30 a.m. Mass. The Eighth grade and kindergarten children will have a special role in the Crowning. It is always a beautiful moment and I invite parents and other from the parish to make the effort to attend.
First Friday is also a day to draw near to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There have been so many offenses against the Sacred Heart that is important we make reparation on behalf of others – and ourselves. Perhaps there is no greater offense against the Sacred Heart than abuse of little children. “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Mt 18:6)
The pope addressed this issue in his meeting with U.S. Cardinals. (Below is the full text of his remarks.) Also in the bulletin you will find a letter from Archbishop Brunett which mentions the issue. I think it is important for you to know certain things about this issue:
1. The Archdiocese of Seattle adopted a sound policy back in the 80’s and Archbishop Hunthausen, Archbishop Murphy and Archbishop Brunett all carefully followed it.
2. As an institution the Archdiocese of Seattle manages its own finances. Moneys from Seattle are not sent out to Boston or any other diocese. As Archbishop Brunett states in his letter, Annual Appeal Funds are not used to underwrite costs of any case either in Seattle or elsewhere.
3. While any instance of priest pedophilia is intolerable, the numbers must not be exaggerated. A CNN interview reported: “A study of the Archdiocese of Chicago a few years ago took all the priests in the Archdiocese over a 40 year period, 2,200 individuals, and did not take proof beyond a reasonable doubt, they just took plausible evidence of misconduct with minors, and the figures are interesting. Of 2,200 priests, about 50 had been involved in some kind of misconduct, mainly with older teenagers. Out of 2,200, there was one, one pedophile. And you can look at that figure in different ways, but one way of looking at it is to say that 98 percent of priests were not involved in misconduct with minors.” It was certainly shocking to see 80 priests accused in Boston, but that came about from examining some 5000 priest personnel files over a fifty year period. As I say, one is too many, but the numbers should not be exaggerated to impugn the work of all priests.
4. All accusations have to be taken seriously, but we cannot forget the rights of the accused. As I mentioned in last Sunday's bulletin, the Seattle Times did a terrible injustice in releasing the names of two priests of this archdiocese even though accusations against them (dating from over two decades ago) were unproven.
Any time we face the reality of evil, there is always a personal danger – we can move from righteous anger to self-righteousness. While we work to protect others from evil, we must never forget that evil has power in each of our hearts. For that reason, we can never become self-satisfied (“well, I am good enough” or “sure, I have my faults, but they are nothing like those people’s”). We need to daily examine our own consciences, repent of personal wrongdoing and seek God’s forgiveness and healing. A most effective way of doing that is in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Confessions will be available this Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. in Holy Family Church.
From John: Invitation to a Month of Abstinence to Save Priesthood & Church
The Church Under Fire -- How Much Is Fair?
Pope´s Address to U.S. Cardinals and Bishops at Vatican: "No Place in Priesthood and Religious Life for Those Who Would Harm the Young"
Final Statement of Meeting on Sex-Abuse Scandals: Crisis Demands Total Fidelity to Church Teachings, Say U.S. Prelates