As you know, recently a Grand Jury in Pennsylvania released a report documenting many cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, and coverups by bishops and other church officials, over a period of seventy years in six of the state's dioceses. Following the revelation of abusive behavior by Archbishop McCarrick, the former Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, during his ministry just a couple of weeks ago, the abuses described in the Grand Jury report are shameful and sickening. As a priest for almost 30 years, I can't tell you how disgusted I am at these latest revelations of clerical abuse and coverup, along with many other priests. As the Vatican said in its statement in response to the report: "The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur."
Here in the Archdiocese of Miami, as in other dioceses in the US, strict guidelines have been implemented since 2002 (and are available on the ADOM website), which all church personnel must follow in order to ensure a safe environment for all our children, and which, along with state law here in FL, require the immediate notification of the appropriate authorities in any cases of suspected abuse. Moreover, any clergy member credibly charged with any form of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult is permanently removed from ministry. Here at St. David, we are doing all we can to ensure a safe environment for everyone, but especially our children, and will not tolerate any form sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior. Let us continue to work together as God's people here at St. David to ensure that everyone, but especially our youth, feel safe and protected in our church and school.
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