University President’s Letter on Abuse Crisis
August 22, 2018
Over the summer, the Catholic community in the United States has been rocked by scandalous revelations regarding former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and a Grand Jury report released by the State of Pennsylvania. The reports of sexual abuse by clergy and the subsequent cover-up and failure to act by leaders in the Catholic Church are both troubling and difficult for us as Catholics and Christians to understand. Rightfully so, these revelations have provoked reactions of anger, shame and disgust among the faithful, and trust in Church leadership has been severely wounded. As a Catholic institution, we take these issues and allegations seriously. As an institution focused on mental health, we are acutely aware of the unspeakable suffering and trauma caused by sexual abuse, and how that harm is aggravated when the perpetrator is a member of the clergy.
While I do not have details beyond what we have all read in the media or in responses by numerous Catholic bishops to these reports and allegations, I want to assure you that Divine Mercy University remains steadfast in its mission to provide an effective academic and educational environmental that prepares students to respond to their vocation in the mental health and helping professions. Many of our faculty, graduates, and students in training work extensively with the victims of abuse. While the wounds of evil are not foundational to the person, the enduring goodness of God’s creation is: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20). In these trying times, we look to Christ’s death and resurrection as the source of mercy and healing for a wounded spirit, for we know that our God is a loving, redemptive God and our mission is one of educating professionals who can provide help for individuals, on spiritual, emotional, and psychological levels, and work toward the reconciliation of relationships for flourishing.
As an act of reparation and solidarity with the victims, I will be offering one Mass per week for the next 9 weeks for the healing of victims of clergy abuse. I would also like to invite you to join me in daily prayer that Church leadership take the necessary steps to correct these grave problems, including a thorough investigation that is independent, objective, transparent and holds people accountable. The DMU Community will be offering a nine-day novena for these intentions. Above all, we are invited to renew our faith in Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. He – and no one else – is Our Lord, Our God and Our All.
I am praying for each of you and wish you success as we begin the 2018-2019 Academic Year.
With best wishes and the blessings of our Savior Jesus Christ,
Fr. Charles Sikorsky, L.C., J.D., J.C.L.
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