Archbishop Lori outlines path toward reform and renewal in the Catholic Church

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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Archbishop William E. Lori

Archbishop William E. Lori

Archbishop William E. Lori was installed as the 16th Archbishop of Baltimore May 16, 2012.

Prior to his appointment to Baltimore, Archbishop Lori served as Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., from 2001 to 2012 and as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington from 1995 to 2001.

A native of Louisville, Ky., Archbishop Lori holds a bachelor's degree from the Seminary of St. Pius X in Erlanger, Ky., a master's degree from Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg and a doctorate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Washington in 1977.

In addition to his responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop Lori serves as Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and is the former chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.