Archbishop Aymond and His Fiercest Critic Make Peace, Pledge to Collaborate on Priest Abuse Crisis
By Ramon Antonio Vargas
January 6, 2021
New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond and one of the local Catholic Church’s most vocal critics announced a detente Wednesday, pledging to ensure justice for victims of sexual molestation by clergy and to collaborate on preventing further abuse.
Local SNAP chapter leader Kevin Bourgeois, left, and Archbishop Gregory Aymond announced on Jan. 6, 2021, that they would collaborate on resolving the local Catholic Church's ongoing clerical molestation scandal. This photo was taken during a meeting on Dec. 15, 2020, which preceded their joint pledge to work together.
In a joint statement from Aymond and Kevin Bourgeois, the leader of the New Orleans chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the two sides said they would create “a program for healing for victims of abuse” aimed at “rebuilding trust between them and the church.”
“Though we may have different ideas and methods, we have common goals: healing for victims, their families and prevention of abuse,” the statement from both men said. “Let us be clear: clergy sexual abuse is a scandal, it is a sin, and it cannot be tolerated.”
The release didn’t provide information on any specific plans or initiatives. Still, it marked a notable thawing of relations between two men who had been clashing publicly for nearly 18 months.