From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda
Today is a day to be grateful. We are grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate the Archdiocese’s commitment to keeping children in our community safe. I am grateful to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and his staff – they want what we want – safe places for children to worship, learn, and grow. They have not wavered from that commitment. They have given us this opportunity to improve and to show that we can do better. I am grateful to Judge Warner for her wisdom and patience in allowing the parties to find common ground and a pathway to make the community a better place than when we started.
I am also grateful for the tremendous work so many at the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis have done to establish – and now implement – the practices, policies and protocols that create and maintain the safe environments children and their families deserve. Director Tim O’Malley, Deputy Director Janell Rasmussen, and the many others in the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, along with our Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, are committed to much more than “checking off boxes” on a list. They are committed to a meaningful and lasting culture change, and it is happening.
But most of all, I am grateful to those who have had the strength and courage to step forward and stop the abuse. They have changed how this Archdiocese, churches of many faiths, schools, and other organizations all over the country handle allegations of sexual abuse. The victims and survivors of abuse are in my prayers daily and I promise to continue to do all I can to make sure we honor their request that we never let this happen again. I am grateful how they have made sure our decisions and actions are transparent and we are held accountable.
We have more work to do, and we are committed to doing it.
I pray the peace of the Lord in this Advent season be with all of you and your families.