With sadness we have all read the recent news reports of the allegations of sexual misconduct made against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired Archbishop of Washington, D.C. One of the allegations directed against McCarrick involving an eleven-year-old child has been judged credible and McCarrick has resigned from the College of Cardinals and has been ordered by Pope Francis to lead a life of solitude and penance until a Church trial takes place.
Other accusations have been made against the former cardinal involving the abuse of power in regard to seminarians and priests while he served as Bishop of Metuchin, New Jersey, and Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey. Both dioceses made financial settlements with former seminarians and priests who brought forth allegations.
This story evokes painful memories of the clergy sex abuse stories that began to circulate in early 2002 in the Archdiocese of Boston and that were soon replicated in dioceses throughout the country. In response to this tragedy and grave sin in the Church, the American bishops began to work on ways of making sure that these crimes could not repeat themselves without intervention and accountability.
Much of the Church’s work in this regard has become a model for other institutions in learning how to recognize predatorial behavior and how to report suspected abuse. But the McCarrick case raises new questions of accountability and the scrutiny to which not only priests and all Church workers should be subject, but that of bishops as well. How could McCarrick have risen to one of the most senior positions in the Church when the stories of abuse, at least against seminarians and priests, were known at the time that he was elevated to the College of Cardinals and payouts had been made to alleged victims?
These most recent events remind us that the Church still has much to learn and much to do to combat and respond to the grave sin of abuse. New and better structures that allow victims of abuse to come forward and new ways of establishing accountability for priests, deacons, bishops, cardinals and all who work and minister in the Church are needed. May these new structures come as a result of the sad news of these past weeks.
That we, as Christians, sin may not be shocking for we have all fallen short, but that the Church would ever become complacent with sin would be the greatest sin of all. Please note in this week’s bulletin the protocol for reporting abuse by a priest or anyone who ministers in the Church in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
See you at Mass!
How to Report Suspected Child Abuse
How to Make a Report:
If you suspect a child has been abused by a priest, deacon, employee or volunteer of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, it is important that you contact the appropriate authorities immediately.
Please take the following steps:
1. Call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline, 800-800-5556.
or your local law enforcement agency.
2. Contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, at 800-382-9836 ext. 1548
3. Reports can also be made online at
You do not have to give your name.
In the event of an emergency, call 911