Yesterday, the Vatican released a long-awaited report on its investigation of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The report is a detailed exposition of the Holy See’s knowledge and decision-making process regarding the rise of the New York priest to bishop, archbishop, and ultimately cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C. The McCarrick case is a very disturbing matter for the Church, especially here in the United States, and the report is a difficult and painful reminder of past failure. The 400-page long document will take some time to read and reflect upon. I believe it is imperative to understand and fully acknowledge the grave mistakes and faults of the past, no matter how embarrassing or scandalous, in order to ensure that they are never repeated.
Pope Francis called for a thorough and independent investigation of Theodore McCarrick and the publication of the report of its findings. I am grateful for his commitment to transparency and accountability in responding to the case.
As we reflect on the inadequate responses by Church leaders detailed in the report, as Bishop, I am firmly resolved to do all I can to protect any child or vulnerable adult from any person acting under the authority of the Diocese of Fall River. To support that mission, I have expanded our Safe Environment Enterprise to oversee preventative efforts, a comprehensive response to any allegation of misconduct or abuse, and through our Victim Assistance Coordinator, provide ongoing pastoral support.
The scourge of clerical sexual abuse and misconduct has touched every diocese in the nation and continues to affect us all deeply. The impact, sadly, is greatest on the victims who have suffered tremendously. I ask you to join with me in prayer for those victims of abuse who have been grievously harmed by members of our Church.
For more information on our Safe Environment Enterprise, please visit the diocesan website and click on the Safe Environment tab at the top of the page.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha
Prayer for Healing Victims of Abuse
God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just: You gave your only Son to save us by his blood on the cross. Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them. Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been gravely harmed, and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant them justice for their cause, enlightened by your truth. Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds and transform brokenness into wholeness. Grant us the courage and wisdom, humility, and grace, to act with justice. Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labors. Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace in justice. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.