Ten Years Later – Reflections on the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston

Archdiocese of Boston

January 4, 2012

The life of the Church in the Archdiocese of Boston (and throughout the world) was forever changed by the revelations of clergy sexual abuse that dominated the news in January of 2002. Since that time much has happened in the Church and in society concerning recognition of the sexual abuse of minors, confronting these crimes and instituting protections to prevent these tragic violations of innocence from ever happening again. At this time, with a spirit of contrition and humility, with a commitment to vigilance and with gratitude for all who have given their time and effort to ensure that such abuse never again occur in the Church, we offer our reflections on the journey of the past decade.

I. The Survivors

The survivors of clergy sexual abuse, with their families and loved ones, must always be the central focus of all dimensions ofour ongoing response to the crisis. Their courage in coming forward and sharing the accounts of their abuse has been of immeasurable help to so many who tragically shared that terrible experience. The survivors’ strength in proclaiming the truth allowed others to acknowledge their own pain and take steps to begin healing.

It is indisputable that the survivors of clergy sexual abuse have suffered greatly. As an Archdiocese, as a Church, we can never cease to make clear the depth of our sorrow and to beg forgiveness from those who were so grievously harmed. We also must acknowledge and express our gratitude for all that survivors and their loved ones have done, and continue to do, to help make the Church, and all of society, safer for children. We are humbled as many survivors have offered forgiveness to the Church and encouraged others to re-establish their relationship with the God who offers all of us the gifts of love and healing.

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