Bishop Barnes has offered us advice on how to approach the clerical sexual abuse news re-appearing these days.. We must keep hope alive in our hearts.
We join with him and others in facing this issue and beginning the healing process for all concerned.
August 16, 2018
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In these summer months we have been faced with several reports in the national and international news of misconduct by Church leaders in the area of sexual abuse. The revelations of misconduct and negligence in protecting both youth and adults from harm point to serious moral failures in the institutional Church. I want to express my deepest sorrow and my apologies to the victims of these reported abuses and harassments. While we have come a long way in our understanding and response to the issue of sexual abuse, this shows us that there is more work to be done in the cleansing and healing of our Mother Church.
For many of us, these reports have the effect of opening a wound that was not entirely healed to begin with. What is the response of the faithful? Some become embittered toward their faith, others greet the news with indifference, and still others may simply refuse to believe the truth of the reports. While understandable, these are not the responses to which God calls us. Instead, a more difficult road lies before us; one of humility, healing and hope.
Finally, let us not forget that we are a people of hope. The light of our hope in Christ, though perhaps dimmed for the moment by these trials, will always guide our way forward. In His Death and Resurrection, the Lord Jesus has already claimed victory for us. He asks only that we be the face of His love and mercy as we minister to each other in the building of the Kingdom.
We cannot do this unless we keep hope alive in our hearts. In Christ,
Most Reverend Gerald R. Barnes
Bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino