The following editorial for the Baltimore Sun was written by Archbishop William E. Lori and published Nov. 9 online.
As is customary this time of year, Baltimore is again hosting the nation’s Catholic bishops, who are convening here in America’s first Roman Catholic diocese for extensive discussions about the relevance and impact of Catholic faith in American society. This year in particular, because of the severe crisis confronting the church, the agenda, deliberations and outcomes of our meeting are rightly under intense scrutiny.
The widely reported instances of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, the sexual harassment of adults and subsequent cover-up by far too many bishops are nothing short of horrific. These were crimes committed by men who presented themselves as God’s representatives. Instead, they betrayed the trust of the innocent and their calling. The systematic concealment by church authorities and attempts to silence victims in the effort to spare the church liability and scandal was not only misguided but fundamentally and morally wrong. The cumulative fallout has led to a profound crisis of faith and identity among Catholics around the world.
The path to restoring trust and the credibility of church leaders is still uncertain but will unquestionably be long and difficult. The extensive listening sessions that I conducted with parishioners across the archdiocese made this abundantly clear. Essential to the process of healing is complete transparency, while also making clear the steps that have and will be taken to prevent such things from happening again.
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