Brothers and Sisters in Christ: As your pastor, I wanted to take a moment to talk with you about the horrible events that’ve been in the news—the terrible scandal of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania that we’ve been learning more and more about. These are dark days in the Church that we all love, we must all stand with the victims of this terrible abuse, and we must do everything we can to make sure it never happens again.
I’m thankful for Pope Francis’ leadership, condemning this evil, shameful abuse. And there must be accountability for the abusers who committed these horrific crimes, and for all who allowed it to happen.
It is good that our Catholic Church has instituted reforms since the early 2000s that have dramatically reduced clergy child abuse, our archdiocese has been dedicated to Safe Environment training for many years to protect our youth, and we at St Columbkille remain totally committed to everyone’s safety and well-being.
If you suspect child abuse of any kind, please report it immediately to the police or to child protective services. One way you can report is by dialing the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Hotline for Child Abuse or Neglect at 1-800-652-1999. Mandatory reporting is our moral obligation, and it’s the law in Nebraska.
It is only through God’s grace that we can begin to heal from this tragedy; I invite you to join me in prayer, especially for the survivors of abuse, but also for our Church. And please know that I’m available to meet with anyone who might want to talk more about this important issue.