I have been waiting for a statement from my bishop about the current crisis/scandal in our beloved Church. As I stated in my “Open Letter to My Bishop” in this blog on August 13, as a faithful son of the church I want to know that my leaders are giving spiritual leadership to the flock that they have been entrusted to their care. Cardinal Raymond Burke in a recent interview calls this the greatest crisis the American Catholic Church has ever faced!
So three days ago this joint statement was issued by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, and the four bishops of Trenton, Paterson, Camden and Metuchen. You can read it below. But in case you don’t get through it, allow me to say that this statement is well crafted and sound like it’s coming from corporate headquarters regarding a potential recall. What we don’t see here is a call to prayer and fasting. Was this just an unfortunate circumstance that took place in neighboring Pennsylvania, and we’re good in New Jersey?
Again to quote Cardinal Burke (and our Lord), this demon can only come out by “prayer and fasting.” The faithful of New Jersey love our Church. With all due respect to your offices that has been entrusted to you, we plead with your Eminence and your Excellencies to lead us into righteousness through confession and repentance.
Saint Joseph, patron of the Church, pray for us! Saint Peter Damian, reformer of the Church, pray for us! Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Newark Trenton Paterson Camden Metuchen
August 15, 2018
New Jersey’s Roman Catholic Bishops acknowledge that media accounts of the details contained in Pennsylvania’s grand jury report show a heartbreaking departure from our fundamental belief in the dignity and value of every child. As a Church, our calling remains unchanged – to help children in our care encounter leaders who exemplify God’s commandment to love and protect the most vulnerable.
As Bishops, we hold that every parent and every child deserve a safe environment to learn and explore their faith. Every space where teaching, worship, and ministry take place must provide this safe environment. There must be no compromise on this principle. The children entrusted to our care are treasures.
We cannot undo the actions of the past, but we shall remain vigilant to ensure that not one child will ever be abused on our watch.
New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses have conducted some 380,000 criminal background checks of all diocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors. In addition, all Catholic dioceses have integrated a comprehensive program of reporting abuse to civil authorities, compensating and counseling victims, and implementing rigorous protocols and training for more than 2.3 million clergy, employees, volunteers and children.
We thank law enforcement agencies, child protection advocates and victims themselves who have helped us move beyond compliance to creating the safest environments for learning and worship. We are deeply thankful for those who have joined our efforts to extend both healing and hope to every victim and their family. We renew our commitment to foster healing and seek forgiveness.
We urge anyone who was abused by clergy to come forward to civil authorities.
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Newark
Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M.
Bishop, Diocese of Trenton
Most Reverend Dennis J. Sullivan
Bishop, Diocese of Camden
Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli
Bishop, Diocese of Paterson
Most Reverend James F. Checchio
Bishop, Diocese of Metuchen