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LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP BLAIR
August 14, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
For some years now attention has been focused, and continues to be focused, on the sexual sins and crimes of some of our Catholic clergy and the failure of the hierarchy in many cases to respond in an immediate and decisive way to remove the offenders from ministry.
Since 2002 enormous strides have been made to remedy this situation and to protect minors and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse on the part of anyone working in the Church. An upright moral life, including sexuality, is an expectation that has been made abundantly clear to all our clergy and seminarians, whose screening and training programs have been critically evaluated and strengthened. Given the commitments that have been made by the bishops, and the norms that have been implemented, there has been great reason for encouragement.
Now the wounds are renewed by media reports about past abuse by clergy in other States, and in particular by recent revelations about the former Cardinal and retired Archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick. Multiple allegations of the abuse of minors and of homosexual activity, including preying on seminarians and young priests, are abhorrent to me and to you, and a cause of renewed hurt and anger, of extreme scandal and shame for the Church.
What is deeply troubling is that although some of the former cardinal’s alleged activities were known and reported by some, nothing was done to remove him from office or to charge him with the canonical and potential civil consequences of his actions. Clearly, more needs to be done to ensure fraternal correction and accountability among bishops. According to Church law accused cardinals and bishops are to be judged, at the mandate of the Pope, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. I would want, and fully expect the cardinals and bishops be held to exactly the same rigorous norms and subjected to the same rigorous procedures that are applied to priests and deacons when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct and crimes.
In a sinful world, despite our vigilance, there can be no absolute guarantee that there will not be clerics who betray or violate their sacred office sexually or in other ways. Christ’s betrayer, Judas, was one of his chosen Apostles. Against the stratagems of the devil St. Paul says we must “put on the armor of God” (Eph 6:13).
Our hearts continue to go out to all victims of abuse, especially by clergy. The facts that have come to light over the years have been a painful and a rightfully humbling cross for all bishops, and I have experienced it very deeply and personally since becoming a diocesan bishop in 2003. I pray daily for the victims of clerical sexual abuse, I offer Mass for them, and I ask you to pray for them as well.
Recently I published for our archdiocese a prayer I had written some years ago to Mary, Mother of the Church, during the height of the sexual abuse crisis. It reads in part: “Like you, the Church’s first and most perfect member, we too stand at the foot of the cross as witnesses to what human sinfulness is capable of inflicting on the body of Christ. As your Son crushed the head of the ancient serpent who is the father of lies, so now intercede for us with God, that our archdiocese may be delivered from all evil and be preserved in holiness and truth. By your prayers hasten the coming of the justice and mercy of God.” Please join me in saying this prayer and the traditional prayer to St. Michael the Archangel each and every day.
Sincerely, Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford
ARCHBISHOP’S ANNUAL APPEAL
Thank you to the more than 37,900 generous donors who have pledged over $9,527,056 for the 2018 Appeal. Please note that we assure you that 100% of the funds donated to the Appeal are distributed as published in the annual report. Not a single cent collected are used for settlements of sex abuse cases or legal fees.
The 2018 Appeal is now underway in our parish.
Your support of this year’s Appeal ensures that essential charitable, educational, and pastoral ministries of the Archdiocese of Hartford are carried forward. Please help us meet our parish goal of $20,000. If you did not receive a mailing for the Archbishop’s Appeal, there are large white envelopes at the side entrance with all the information and a pledge card.
THE POPE’S EFFORTS TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Pope Francis held a summit of judges and prosecutors from around the world at the Vatican on June 3 to draw attention to the problem of human trafficking and rally resources to fight it. The Pope is asking for us to pray for riddance of this crime against humanity. St. Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of law enforcement. Catholics also have at their disposal the immense power of the holy mass and the rosary. We should also understand that human trafficking is coming closer and closer to us and our loved ones. It is pervasive in the United States, claiming victims of all social status in rural as well as urban areas. Prayer and awareness are critical. Please report to law enforcement anything you see that seems strange. The suffering of the victims is immense and their life expectancy is short. ‘St. Michael the Archangel, patron of law enforcement, please send out your angels to rescue trafficked people.’
HOW TO REPORT AN INCIDENT OF SEXUAL ABUSE TO THE DIOCESE
The Archdiocese of Hartford has a process in place if you have knowledge or suspect that a minor or vulnerable adult (an adult with an intellectual disability) has been sexually abused in any manner by personnel of the Archdiocese of Hartford. This does include volunteers who have contact with children in the parish setting. Please contact the Archdiocese of Hartford by calling 1-860-541-6491 and speaking with Victim Assistance Coordinator. Kathleen D. Nowosadko at (firstname.lastname@example.org.) You will be asked to provide a written detail of the facts involved and you can find specifics of the written report in the Policies and Procedures of the Archdiocese of Hartford, on their website, relating to allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors and vulnerable adults. The Archdiocese will report any and all incidents to the proper civil authorities.
SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR OUR CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
If you have knowledge or suspect that a minor or vulnerable adult (an adult with intellectual disability) has been sexually abused, in any manner, by personnel of the Archdiocese of Hartford, you are urged to report this information to: Kathleen Nowosadko, Victim Assistance Coordinator of the Archdiocese, at 860-541-6475 or Kathleen.email@example.com. In addition you will be asked to follow up in writing with a detailed description of the facts involved in the incident. This document is also available online at www.archdioceseofhartford.org.
The Archdiocese of Hartford will report any and all incidents to the proper authorities.
You may also report abuse incidents yourself:
Regarding persons under age 18 – State Dept. of Children and Families 1-800-842-2288.
Regarding vulnerable adults age 18-59 –
Division of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with
Regarding vulnerable adults aged 60 and over – Dept. of Social Services for the Elderly 1-800-385-4225.
Once a written report has been received, an investigation will be undertaken by, or on behalf of the Archdiocese
VIRTUS – PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN
The Archdiocese of Hartford and St. Michael Parish are committed to ensuring the safety of all children and vulnerable adults. All priests, staff members, CCD and Polish Saturday School teachers and other volunteers who have any contact whatsoever with children and other vulnerable adults in the parish are required to be trained through Virtus (the Safe Environment Program) to recognize any signs of abuse. If you suspect an incident of abuse please contact SKathleen D. Nowosadko at (firstname.lastname@example.org.) , at 860-541-6491.