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THE CHURCH WE WANT

LCWR STATEMENT ON SEXUAL ABUSE BY CLERGY


August 23, 2018  [Silver Spring, MD]

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.


Contact: Sisters Annmarie Sanders, IHM | Director of Communications | Leadership Conference of Women Religious |  asanders@lcwr.org | 301-588-4955

POPE FRANCIS--URGENT COLLECTIVE ACTION TO REPAIR THE PLANET

Pope Francis has called for collective action to repair the planet, and wants "citizen pressure groups" organizing ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, September 8, in San Francisco, CA. Francis said "it is our duty and our moment to cooperate in responsibly cultivating and protecting the Earth."

Before September 8, organizers will call for decisive action on climate with actions across the globe and a huge march in San Francisco on September 8. On that day. local leaders will be asked to take action on climate change and commit to a Fossil Free world.

We must call for 100% renewable energy that protects communities, creates jobs, and brings an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects. Each and every action around the U.S. will help bolster our efforts and show solidarity with communities impacted by the climate crisis. Every city has been invited to make a commitment in the lead up to the Summit.

Please plan to be a part of actions going on in your city. Thank you.

BACKING THE CLIMATE DECLARATION

Nearly 600 Catholic institutions have signed the Catholic Climate Declaration, which renews Catholic support for continuing U.S. actions to address climate change despite President Trump's action to remove the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.

The announcement was made on June 18, 2018, which coincided with the 3rd anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment and human ecology, "Laudato Si" on "Care for Our Common Home."

Among the signers are 37 dioceses, close to 200 religious communities, more than 100 parishes, 61 Catholic universities, and more than a dozen Catholic health care organizations, including the Catholic Health Association.

SHOULD WOMEN BECOME PRIESTS?

Univision asked 12,038 Catholics in 12 countries if women should be allowed to join the priesthood. Here, a sample of how many responded positively:

83%--France
78%--Spain
59%--United States
35%--Mexico
21%--Philippines

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--Pope Francis encouraged women attending a baptism ceremony in the Sistine Chapel to "breast-feed, without fear" inside the church. The Pontiff previously aired his support for public breast-feeding in 2013

--In a papal decree, Pope Francis established legal procedures to remove bishops who mishandle sex-abuse cases. Critics have long argued that bishops shuffle priests accused of abuse to different parishes rather than reporting them to the police.

--Pope Francis called on U.S. priests to devote more time to their parishioners' spiritual needs. But 20% of U.S. parishes no longer have a priest in residence. For each U.S. priest, there are 2,600 parishioners. (FiveThirtyEight.com)

--45% of U.S. Catholics attend Mass at least once a week. 19% attend monthly, and 35% say they attend less often or never. (The Washington Post/ABC News)