A Message from Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Dear Member of the Family of the Archdiocese,
As we continue the Easter season, and affirm once again the central reality of our faith—that the Lord through His Cross has brought us to the new life in the Resurrection—we live as people of hope in the face of all the evil and sin we find in our world, and sad to say, even in our Church.
I write today as someone who himself realizes the shame that has come upon our Church due to the sexual abuse of minors. I write to ask forgiveness again for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.
More specifically, I write today because after hearing from many victim-survivors, many of you, and many priests, I have decided to publish a comprehensive list of all archdiocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors or who were the subject of a claim made to the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program that was determined to be eligible for compensation. That list is now public at http://archny.org/list. Along with those clergy’s names, the list also includes their dates of ordination and current status. Please be assured there is not a single priest or deacon of the Archdiocese of New York against whom there has been a credible and substantiated claim of abuse against a minor currently in ministry.
The archdiocese has taken numerous steps to strengthen and enhance its procedures to ensure that our children are protected and to comply with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002. For those who are not familiar with those procedures, here are the key points. Whenever the archdiocese is notified of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, the archdiocese reports that allegation to the appropriate district attorney. Even where law enforcement cannot act upon an allegation, the archdiocese removes the accused priest from ministry while the allegation is investigated by outside professionals, all of whom are former federal agents, and refers the allegation to our Review Board to determine whether or not it has been substantiated. If it finds an allegation to be substantiated, the priest is permanently removed from ministry. The names of clergy have also been published in our archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New York, and among the parishes where the accused was assigned. We have initiated the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, as a way to bring healing and justice to those who were abused by archdiocesan clergy.
These measures have been effective, both to respond to victim-survivors with compassion and to prevent, as much as possible, incidents of abuse from occurring in the future. Still, we must continue to be vigilant to make certain that the failings of the past are not repeated. I pledge again today that I will do all in my power to ensure the safety of our young people, and to react with sympathy, understanding, and respect towards those who come forward with an allegation of abuse.
Please join me in praying that this outreach helps bring peace and consolation to victim-survivors and their families who have experienced the horror of abuse. Finally, I once again urge anyone who has an allegation of abuse of a minor to go immediately to the district attorney to report it. If the allegation concerns a priest or deacon of the archdiocese, I urge you to contact the archdiocese’s Victims Assistance Coordinator as well, so that we might offer you pastoral support and invite you to participate in the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. Our Victims Assistance Coordinator, Sister Eileen Clifford, can be reached at 646-794-2949 or via e-mail at [email protected], or you can report on our website at http://archny.org/report-a-complaint.
Jesus, risen from the dead, shatters the darkness of evil and death and brings us to new life. It is my heartfelt prayer that together we as a family of faith may be healed and so bring the light of the Resurrection to the darkness of our world.Faithfully in Christ,
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York