What would it be like if we heard this statement this week?
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
By now you will have read the Grand Jury’s report of the offenses committed by Catholic priests in Transylvania. The report is devastating, shameful and heartbreaking for all Catholics.
Although I am now the Cardinal Archbishop of Metropolis, I previously served as the Archbishop of Pottsville. As the report shows, some of my decisions concerning priests who were sex offenders were wrong. According to the report I authorized financial payments to them, authorized confidentiality agreements with victims’ families thus buying their silence, and moved offending priests to other positions of employment.
I took these actions in good faith for the protection of the church’s reputation, and to minimize further scandal to God’s children and his church. I also took these steps to protect the financial assets of the diocese. I took these actions based on the precedents before me. My predecessors dealt with these problems in this way and I followed their example. I was also advised to take these steps by various professionals: lawyers, insurance advisors, financial consultants, psychologists and therapists. Each situation was more complicated than it first appears and I had to balance the needs of victims, the rights of the priests involved, the reputation of the church and many other factors.
At the time I believed I was making the right decisions, and as the scandals unfolded sincerely tried to do my best to protect children.
However, I am not trying to shift the blame or make excuses.
I am the one who is ultimately responsible. I, and many of my fellow bishops and priests, were too tolerant of homosexual behavior in the seminaries and in the priesthood. We treated the problem with jocularity and played down the seriousness of this disordered desire. This blinded us to the seriousness of homosexual abuse of boys and young men. We admitted and retained men in the priesthood who never should have been there. We did not take the offenses seriously because too many of us had already lowered our own standards when it came to sexual morality.
I should have realized that certain men were poisonous Judas priests who, on their first offense should have been removed from ministry, and on their second offense removed from the priesthood completely without any compensation. All of our efforts should have been for the victims.
I failed in my duties, and I repent before you and God publicly and completely.
I hope you will remember that any man or woman is not to be judged only by their failures and sins, and that many who fall into sin may also have accomplished much good in their service of the Lord.
Having thought and prayed about my own failures, I have offered Pope Francis my resignation as the Archbishop of Metropolis. Tomorrow I leave for a new assignment as the assistant priest of St Peter Claver parish in Bogota, Colombia, South America. St Peter Claver parish is situated in a slum in the nation’s capital, and I will work in the parish and as chaplain to the AIDS hospice run by the Missionaries of Charity.
I am taking this step not because I am the worst offender in this sordid mess, but because I a the Cardinal Archbishop of Metropolis, and therefore one of the most senior Catholic priests in the United States. I am determined that the rest of my life will be spent in reparation for the sins of our priests and bishops. I do this in humble imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ who himself was both priest and victim. In saying “victim” I do not suggest that I am in any way a victim of any crime, but instead that I am a willing victim who is making reparation for my own sins and the sins of others both living and dead.
My cardinal’s robes are meant to remind me of the blood of our Savior. I pray that my example may in some way point others to the beautiful and terrible cross of our Lord Jesus Christ because as a priest my sole calling, desire and destiny is to preach Christ and him crucified and, indeed to be crucified with Christ so that through my life and witness others may see him and live.
I will continue to work at St Peter Chanel parish until further notice, and will not respond to any media requests or further conversations except with victims of sexual abuse who I may be able to assist in some small way.
You may wonder why I am not resigning my post as a Cardinal. This is because I hope one day to be involved in another conclave at which I pledge to cast my vote for a bishop whose heart is aflame with the fire of love for Jesus Christ, his blessed mother and our holy church, and with that fire of love continue the renewal of Christ and his church.
Thank you and God Bless You,
Cardinal David Whirl
I tell you what it would be like.
It would be a tsunami of emotional, spiritual and psychological release–not only for Catholics, but for all Christians
The scandal would be over and the disaster would be turned into a triumph for the faith.
Thousands who at this time are looking at the Catholic Church with disbelief, distaste and disgust would have their minds and hearts changed.
Priests and people would believe they actually had a saint in their midst
Thousands would begin to understand the mystery of sin, the meaning of the cross and the power of the cross to save souls.
The spiritual graces that would be released would be enormous.
Or so it seems to me.