Grace and peace. Last week there was news of the Catholic Church’s coverup of over a thousand sexual abuse cases in Pennsylvania. The coverup involved the current Catholic Archbishop of Washington when he served as the Bishop of Pittsburgh. The headlines were shocking, yet we have known that there has been a broken system for many years. I guess the surprise is the severity. The recent news from Pennsylvania followed news of the former Catholic Archbishop of Washington abusing both children and his subordinates. All of these reports make me sick. I pray that all victims of abuse find safety and peace.
I can’t say that the Episcopal Church is perfect, but I can tell you that we have clear systems of reporting. The bishops with whom I have served, including Bishop Mariann, respond quickly to accusations and the proper legal authorities are notified. There is no one too important or powerful that he or she will not be reported if suspected of abuse. This is true across the Episcopal Church including here at St. Patrick’s.
In the early 2000s, I was involved in the creation of the education class (Safeguarding God’s Children) that is required of those who work with children and youth in the Episcopal Church (churches, schools, and other institutions). I appear in the videos as one of the clergy members demonstrating proper ways to safely interact with members of a community. Our system requires that our employees and volunteers take this course, submit to a background check, and expect to never spend one-on-one time with any child.
My promise is that I will do everything I can to make sure that St. Patrick’s is a safe place open to all people.