Some News and Notes

“May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:22

I would like to devote my column this week to update all in our diocese on several important topics. First, I wish to thank Jenifer Valenti, who has served in the role of Independent Ombudsman for our diocese during the past eight years, as she prepares to take on a new role with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas as their Director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection. Jenifer has served in a way that has brought great strength to our diocese’s response to the evil of child sexual abuse. She brought great integrity and talent to her role, which included reporting all allegations to civil authorities, investigation, and working closely with our Diocesan Independent Review Board. Many in our diocese have come to know Jenifer’s goodness and hard work. While we will miss her here, I am happy she will still be serving the church on the other side of the state line.

We are already well into the process of preparing to find a new person to pick up and build upon the great foundation that Jenifer has built. I am committed to maintaining the strong, transparent, and reliable processes that we have put in place to effectively respond to all reports of child sexual abuse that are brought forward.

Second, I wish to speak to a question that some have regarding our diocese’s listing of clerics credibly accused of child sexual abuse. Many dioceses have already released such lists in the past few months. It is my desire to do so as well. This process, by its very nature, is painstakingly deliberate. I intend for an eventual report to be thorough, accurate, and as complete as possible. Like most other dioceses, the review is being accomplished by a highly respected and independent third party. It is my hope that our review will be complete and a list available in the coming months.

Finally, I acknowledge the mixture of anger, frustration and worry that many continue to feel over the on-going pall of the clergy sexual abuse scandal coupled with the revelations about Theodore McCarrick, and the seeming inaction to adequately address it. I remain steadfast in my own commitment within our national bishop’s conference to take action that keeps seeking out the truth to these failures.

While I cannot see into the future, I do have faith in Christ, his love for the Church, and his promise to never abandon us. I urge you to pray for the virtue of hope in the Lord, that over time he will help to accomplish the reforms and healing his Church needs at this time in history.

Let us pray about what is beyond our control and, with the help of God’s grace, work with dedication and love on what we can.

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Monday
October 21, 2019
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph