Can the Catholic Church finally begin the healing process?

Capital Gazette [Parole MD]

June 3, 2023

By Lenny Wanex and Thomas Connelly

It’s time for Catholic Archdiocese to provide answers

Where is my church?

For the past several weeks after release of the Maryland attorney general report on clergy abuse in the Catholic Church, we have been inundated with an average of two newspaper articles and two to three nightly news reports per week, plus numerous TV ads for lawyers soliciting abuse victims to sue the church.

My parish has said one prayer of the faithful for abuse victims. The only thing the diocese has said publicly is that the media is not covering the story fairly. So where is my church in response to the onslaught of bad press it is receiving? Does leadership they still have their heads in the sand and hope it all blows over? If so, I think they need a new public relations person.

Calls to Archbishop Lori have yielded no results in getting his audio apology to be played at all masses in all parishes on a given Sunday. I think this apology is more deserving of mass air time than the Catholic Appeal yearly message.

If the church can’t discuss the issue, maybe we should stop funding its financial recovery. If the church’s position is that this has occurred before and we got through it, I think it is wrong. Today’s news travels instantly. The diocese website is not known by most.

The diocese needs to tell its apology and amends both to the public and to parishioners. If not, I question whether the church will still be around for future generations. The issue of clergy abuse is an example of mismanagement by the church’s leaders and has caused a loss of respect for church management – not a loss of faith.

Acknowledgment of mistakes and apology are different. The latter is healing. The abuse victims and church need to heal. Can church leadership now get us started?

Lenny Wanex, Annapolis

Providing context to attorney general’s report

The author of the recent article on the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s response to the Attorney’s General’s Report on Sexual Abuse voiced concern over “lack of context.” This is most ironic when you consider three crucial facts that would have provided context and a more fair and enlightening journalistic response.

First, none of the incidents mentioned in the Attorney General’s Report took place after 2002. Without diminishing the concern for anyone abused or otherwise harmed by acts of the clergy, it would seem reasonable to assume the church has taken measures to address this most difficult issue.

Second, according to Archbishop Wiliam Lori’s biography, “In 2002, in recognition of his role as an emerging leader on the church’s response to the sexual misconduct crisis, Archbishop Lori was appointed to the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse. He was instrumental in drafting the landmark Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” Clearly this is a leader who takes matters seriously.

Third, Lori became the head of the archdiocese in 2012 well after the incidents in the report. I have met Lori and found him to be a caring, warm-hearted individual. He inherited this situation and is attempting to address it as best he can given that none of these problems in the diocese were of his making.

Thomas Connelly, Annapolis