The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, as members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, support and echo their recent statement on Sexual Abuse by the Clergy.
"The recent news detailing the extensive and sometimes brutal sexual
abuse committed by Catholic priests in the United States has left us at the Leadership
Conference of Women Religious sickened and ashamed of the church we love, trusted, and
have committed our lives to serve. We weep and grieve with all who over the decades have
been victimized by sexual predators within the faith community and feel their pain as our
own. We recognize that the damage done to many is irreparable.
Sexual abuse is a horrific crime, and the horror is so much worse when committed by
persons in whom society has placed its trust and confidence. Equally difficult to comprehend
is the culture within the church hierarchy that tolerated the abuse, left children and
vulnerable adults subject to further abuse, and created practices that covered up the crimes
and protected the abusers.
We call upon the church leadership to implement plans immediately to support more fully
the healing of all victims of clergy abuse, hold abusers accountable, and work to uncover
and address the root causes of the sexual abuse crisis. We believe that the work to
implement the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its
subsequent revisions has been an important and effective step in addressing allegations of
sexual abuse of minors by clergy. We have watched the Conference of Major Superiors of
Men diligently work to assure the protection and safety of children and youth and applaud
its efforts. However, it is clear that more serious action needs to be taken to assure that the
culture of secrecy and cover-up ends.
We also call upon church leaders to attend to the severe erosion of the church’s moral
standing in the world. Its members are angry, confused, and struggling to find ways to
make sense of the church’s failings. The church leadership needs to speak with honesty and
humility about how this intolerable culture developed and how that culture will now be
deconstructed, and to create places where church members can express our anger and
heartbreak. We call on the leaders to include competent members of the laity more fully in
the work to eradicate abuse and change the culture, policies, and practices. We are
committed to collaborate in the essential work of healing and transformation that our church
so desperately needs.
Finally, we recognize that the vast majority of priests have not committed abuse and are
suffering greatly because of the actions of some of their brothers. We offer them our prayer
and support as they continue their ministries in these very challenging times and as they
too struggle to understand the complexity of factors that led to this deplorable situation."
View the statement on LCWR's website HERE