From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda to abuse survivors at hearing today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court
I come before you today to humbly offer a few thoughts as the shepherd of this Archdiocese.
First, I need to once again say that I am truly sorry. I know that those words – as well as my promise of prayers – might ring hollow for many and will never be enough. Still, I am so very sorry for the horrific things done to you by people you should have been able to trust – and as a bishop, as a priest, as a Cathoilc, and as a human being – my heart aches when I think about the resulting harm to you, your families and so many others.
Second, I need to affirm that your persistence and courage have made a huge difference. You have been the catalyst for needed change. The practices, procedures and audits we have adopted to stop future abuse may not be enough to restore your trust or belief in the Church – understandably so – but the changes you insisted upon are keeping kids safer right now. Thank you for that.
Third, as we gratefully anticipate finalization of the settlement, I hope this resolution brings some measure of justice to you. Yet, I know that no amount of money will make up for the horrors you experienced and for the far-too-frequent failures by priests and bishops. Inexcusable failures that went on for way too long.
Many of you have told me how difficult it is to believe. I find that devastating. I personally feel such strength in my belief in a God for whom nothing is impossible. I wear this cross as a reminder of that — that the greatest good can come from the greatest evil. It gives me hope that it is indeed possible for hearts to mend, suffering to ease and trust to return. As we all take next steps, be assured that that will be my hope and prayer for each of you who are survivors. I would welcome your assistance as we work to keep our children safe. I thank you for helping our Church change for the better.
Editor’s note: Please click here for the Plan Confirmation document.