Letter from the Archbishop
October 18, 2018
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
May God bless you! Amid the offenses of a prelate in the Church as well as accounts of sexual abuse that took place in dioceses of Pennsylvania, we are distressed and angered by horrible events in which bishops, priests, and other church leaders broke the sacred trust with those they have promised to serve as well as their promises of chaste living. This history brings to the surface deep wounds of victim survivors of sexual abuse and testifies to the depth of the grave harm that has been done. This harm has been compounded by the inaction, negligence, or inadequate response of bishops. I personally have felt the weight of these scandals.
In the Archdiocese of Louisville, we share a sad history of such abuse. This pastoral report to you, the faithful of the Archdiocese, aims to bring the light of truth and the healing of Jesus Christ into the darkness of these sinful actions. The wounds of abuse, even if decades old,reveal the terrible damage and pain for victims harmed by the sin and crime of sexual abuse. Our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones.
This report details the history of abuse as well as the steps that have been taken to provide healing for victims and a safe environment for all, especially children and youth. It also emphasizes our effort to report to public authorities any abuse about which we learn. Though much has been done, great vigilance continues to be required.
In the midst of great suffering and discouragement, we seek the light and grace of Jesus Christ, grounded in the truth of the Gospel. So, with humility and sincerity, I invite you to study this document. It is my desire that we can go forward to seek healing for those wounded so deeply, take decisive action with those who have abused others, and build up, with Godís grace, a community of truth and charity that is a safe haven for all.
On October 5, many of you joined me in fasting and prayer, convinced that no lasting change can come about without lament for the harm done in the past and the gift of wisdom and courage to announce the Gospel of Jesus with our lives. Thank you for this action of solidarity with victims of sexual abuse and for your prayers for reform in our Church.
I make a personal pledge to you, the faithful, to act decisively on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse and to ensure that any future abuse is confronted swiftly and justly. I am encouraged by those of you who continue to love and serve the Lord with all your heart. You help me to grow in my own relationship with Christ. Please pray for me, and I will continue to pray for you.
Sincerely yours in our Lord, Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D. rchbishop of Louisville