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August 27, 2018
Dear People of the Diocese of Honolulu,
We have all been horrified and saddened by the news in the past month or so regarding sexual abuse of clergy – even at the highest ranks – and cover ups of the truth. I prepared a letter and asked that it be posted today. Along with the letter is a much lengthier set of my reflections in an attempt to be as transparent about this whole sordid – and complicated -- affair as possible.
Since I wrote those documents, a testimony was issued on Saturday night, August 25, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó, who served as Apostolic Nuncio (the Pope’s official representative) to the United States from October 2011 until his retirement in April 2016. In it he alleges a pattern of corruption, naming many high ranking U.S. prelates and Vatican Officials, including Pope Francis himself, even calling for the resignation of the Holy Father. Obviously this is a time of great crisis for our Church, and we pray that it will be an occasion for complete repentance and purification. While this causes much anger and disillusionment to all of us, I ask you to be extremely careful not to allow Satan to achieve his desire of dividing and destroying the Catholic Church, which always remains the beloved Bride of Christ. Be strong in your faith, and share that faith in JESUS CHRIST with others, because he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I share with you below a statement issued today by the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and I pray that the investigation he calls for will go forward with all honesty to reveal the truth, so that we can all be healed of this terrible cancer that has infected the life of our Church. Please redouble your prayers and sacrifices so that the Holy Spirit will lead us to all truth.
Most Reverend Larry Silva
Bishop of Honolulu
August 27, 2018
WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued the following statement.
Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:
"In communion with the Holy Father, I join the Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in taking upon ourselves his exhortation, 'this open wound [of abuse] challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice.'
"On August 1st, I promised that USCCB would exercise the full extent of its authority, and would advocate before those with greater authority, to pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. On August 16th, I called for an Apostolic Visitation, working in concert with a national lay commission granted independent authority, to seek the truth. Yesterday, I convened our Executive Committee once again, and it reaffirmed the call for a prompt and thorough examination into how the grave moral failings of a brother bishop could have been tolerated for so long and proven no impediment to his advancement.
"The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. 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.
"I am eager for an audience with the Holy Father to earn his support for our plan of action. That plan includes more detailed proposals to: seek out these answers, make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier, and improve procedures for resolving complaints against bishops. Inspired by his recent letter to the people of God, and his motu proprio of two years ago, As a Loving Mother, I am confident Pope Francis shares our desire for greater effectiveness and transparency in the matter of disciplining bishops. We renew our fraternal affection for the Holy Father in these difficult days.
"To the survivors of abuse and the families who have lost a loved one to abuse, I am sorry. You are no longer alone. Since 2002, hundreds of professionally trained staff across the country have been working with the Church to support survivors and prevent future abuse. Nationwide, the Church has a zero-tolerance policy toward priests and deacons who abuse, safe environment training, background checks for those working around children, victim assistance coordinators, prompt reporting to civil authorities, and lay review boards in dioceses.
"In other ways, we have failed you. This is especially true for adults being sexually harassed by those in positions of power, and for any abuse or harassment perpetrated by a bishop. We will do better. The more she is buffeted by storms, the more I am reminded that the Church's firm foundation is Jesus Christ. The failures of men cannot diminish the light of the Gospel. Lord, by the help of your mercy, show us the way to salvation."