August 21, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters affirms the following statement on sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests issued by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, of which the Congregation is a member.
The recent news detailing the extensive and sometimes brutal sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests in the United States has left us at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious sickened and ashamed of the church we love, trusted, and have committed our lives to serve. We weep and grieve with all who over the decades have been victimized by sexual predators within the faith community and feel their pain as our own. We recognize that the damage done to many is irreparable.
Sexual abuse is a horrific crime, and the horror is so much worse when committed by persons in whom society has placed its trust and confidence. Equally difficult to comprehend is the culture within the church hierarchy that tolerated the abuse, left children and vulnerable adults subject to further abuse, and created practices that covered up the crimes and protected the abusers.
We call upon the church leadership to implement plans immediately to support more fully the healing of all victims of clergy abuse, hold abusers accountable, and work to uncover and address the root causes of the sexual abuse crisis. We believe that the work to implement the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its subsequent revisions has been an important and effective step in addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. We have watched the Conference of Major Superiors of Men diligently work to assure the protection and safety of children and youth and applaud its efforts. However, it is clear that more serious action needs to be taken to assure that the culture of secrecy and cover-up ends.
We also call upon church leaders to attend to the severe erosion of the church’s moral standing in the world. Its members are angry, confused, and struggling to find ways to make sense of the church’s failings. The church leadership needs to speak with honesty and humility about how this intolerable culture developed and how that culture will now be deconstructed, and to create places where church members can express our anger and heartbreak. We call on the leaders to include competent members of the laity more fully in the work to eradicate abuse and change the culture, policies, and practices. We are committed to collaborate in the essential work of healing and transformation that our church so desperately needs.
Finally, we recognize that the vast majority of priests have not committed abuse and are suffering greatly because of the actions of some of their brothers. We offer them our prayer and support as they continue their ministries in these very challenging times and as they too struggle to understand the complexity of factors that led to this deplorable situation.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them….” (Mt. 19:14)
June 11, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The following is a statement issued by the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters in response to the practice by Immigration Officials of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border of the United States and Mexico.
Adrian Dominican Sisters urge an immediate end to the morally reprehensible practice of immigration authorities’ separating children from their mothers and fathers at the US-Mexico border.
Heartbreaking stories of children being taken into government custody as their parents are sent to sometimes far-flung detention centers – with no way of communicating with their children for days or weeks and uncertainty about whether they would be reunited – speak of a nation that has lost its moral compass.
No matter our differences on immigration policies, it is hard to imagine American parents and grandparents countenancing such cruelty in enforcing border control.
We call on President Trump to stop his Administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of filing criminal charges against immigrants – including families seeking asylum from gang violence, rape, or political persecution. And we urge Congress to enact long-overdue immigration reform that enjoys broad public support and reflects American values, such as protecting young Dreamers and keeping families united.