Statement of the Pastor on the Release of the McCarrick Report

November 18, 2020

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Last week, the Vatican issued the long-awaited "McCarrick Report." As you know, the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (he was laicized in February of 2019) was removed from public ministry following credible allegations of sexual misconduct against both children and adults (primarily seminarians.) My prayers are first and foremost for the victims of abuse. What they endured was shocking, shameful and deeply sinful. There is much righteous anger at those who in any way were complicit in keeping these sins from coming to light. Much has been done in the last 16 years to address the issue of sexual abuse in the church, especially in our archdiocese. After reading the report, it is clear that still more can be done. It is heartbreaking to me that this particular sin festers not only in our beloved church but also in our schools, sports programs, universities and elsewhere. I have to say, I never imagined that one day, as a priest, I would be writing about such an ugly topic. My experience of the Church was filled with only good examples of ministry; my great parish priests growing up, the Holy Cross Fathers at Notre Dame and so many wonderful priests of the Archdiocese of Boston. I think, too, of the wonderful nuns I have known and befriended over the years: the Daughters of St. Paul, the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, the Trappestines in Wrentham and so many others. They were a big part of my vocational call and continue to give me great hope as we try to move forward. 

My friends, the way forward will be challenging, it’s true, but not without hope. I understand the temptation to despair but am also reminded of the words of St. Peter: "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” We have our Savior, Jesus, to shepherd us through these difficult times. We have Him in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist to give us strength when we are tempted to give up. We have His Church which, despite the presence of grievous sin in some of Her members, has been such a powerful instrument for peace, justice and service to the poor for centuries. Jesus will not abandon His people. He is our light in the darkness. Trust that. Trust Him. With you, I pray to Jesus firstly for the victims of abuse, that they may know His healing and His peace. We pray that they will always be treated with compassion and justice. i pray, too, that our Church will continue to be cleansed and healed. And I humbly ask you to pray for your priests, all of them, living and deceased. It is because of you and your prayers that we were able to offer ourselves to God on the day of our ordination and it is for you that we became priests. I love being a priest and strive every day to be a humble and holy one. I rely on the grace of our good God, and your prayers, to help me do that. 

I am including a link to Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and founder of "Word on Fire Ministries," discussing the "McCarrick Report." He does so with honesty, clarity and ultimately, hope. I am also attaching a link to Cardinal Sean’s statement on the release of the report. 

May God bless the victims of abuse. May God bless our Church.

Peace, Fr. Joe


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