The Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have issued a pastoral response to concerns raised by the recent report of extensive clerical sex abuse in Pennsylvania.
“Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Like you and faithful Catholics everywhere, we heard the most recent revelations of child sex abuse by clergy in the United States with deep dismay.
We share with you a profound sense of disappointment, grief and anger over the actions of people entrusted to act in the name of Christ and guide His Church. We echo the sentiments expressed in the statement released (August 16, 2018) from the Vatican regarding the Interim Report of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania:
“The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur….
The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm. The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.
The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirit of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.
Victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.”
Our hearts break when we hear that children have been harmed in such a lasting and destructive way, through absolutely no fault of their own. It is particularly abhorrent when perpetrated by a member of the clergy. We share in the shame and sorrow of those whose faith has been shaken by this news. When a member of the body suffers, the whole body of Christ suffers. We encourage everyone to pray for the victims, and to remember that the power of the Gospel message can never be destroyed by sin.
To our brothers and sisters who have suffered personally or through family members who have been abused in the Church community, we pledge to listen, and to share your pain and anguish. We invite you to contact us at the local diocesan office.
To those who continue to serve the Church in ministry, whether ordained or lay persons, we are grateful for your dedication and faith in this difficult time. We stand with you, and we pray that God give us all the courage and resilience we need to persevere and remain always morally accountable in our ministry.
We all have a sacred trust to protect those who are vulnerable, particularly children, and to stand up and speak when we witness that trust betrayed. We have made Safe Environments and Abuse Prevention programs a high priority in our dioceses. We cannot run or hide from instances of abuse and harm, and we have no desire to do so. We confront these situations with the Gospel principles of truth, justice, repentance and healing.
With this letter, we renew our commitment to ensure that any clergy, employee, or lay volunteer who commits an offence against children or other vulnerable persons is promptly removed from ministry, that any offences are immediately reported to civil authorities, and that victims receive an apology, compassion and assistance in recovering from any harm they have suffered, including compensation where appropriate.
With the help of God’s grace, we must continue to exercise our responsibility for the care of all victims, especially children. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may we always fulfill our moral obligation to uphold and safeguard the dignity of each human person.
Sincerely in Christ,
Catholic Bishops of Alberta and NWT
✠ Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton
✠ William McGrattan, Bishop of Calgary
✠ Gerard Pettipas CSsR, Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan
✠ David Motiuk, Bishop of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton
✠ Jon Hansen CSsR, Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith
✠ Paul Terrio, Bishop of St. Paul
17 August 2018 “
Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton
Confidential phone line: 1-877-770-6777
Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary
Secure and confidential email:
Catholic Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan
Msgr. Charles Lavoie
Office of the Vicar General and Chancellor
Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Paul
Deacon Ryan Sales
Office of the Safe Parish Coordinator
Roman Catholic Diocese of McKenzie-Fort Smith
Sister Mary Lee
The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton
Very Rev. Stephen Wojcichowsky, Chancellor
Office of the Chancellor
Bishop McGrattan has released the 2018 Clergy moves and assignments. The document (PDF) may be read in full HERE:
We wish all the clergy involved well in their new assignments.
““You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Timothy: 2:1-2).
It is with these words that the Apostle Paul exhorts one of his closest collaborators in undertaking the task of evangelization. In fact, it could be said to have been one of St. Paul’s key strategies: identify the obvious leaders from among the Christian communities he was establishing and invest extra attention and formation in them in order that they could go forth and more effectively preach the Gospel.
A hallmark of the Pontificate of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has been his call to go out to the peripheries. This has become a popular anthem but before we charge out to these peripheries, we should ask a few questions first. Questions such as, who are on the peripheries? What are we bringing them? What’s the most effective way to do so? As exciting and adventurous as it may sound to rush out to those margins inspired by the call of the Pope and love for our Lord, we should do so strategically.
Borrowing the strategy of Paul for Timothy is how we hope to do so with what has become a time-honoured tradition in our diocese and province.
Upon my interim appointment to supervise the Office of Youth Ministry, one of the responsibilities I inherited was to work with our One Rock coordinator, Raluca Ungureanu, in organizing this year’s event. After careful review, under the direction of Bishop McGrattan and with the support of his brother Alberta Bishops, we have significantly modified the event which we are now calling: One Rock 2.0
This will be an event exclusively open to young adults ages 18-35 (married or single) contained to one day at St. Michael’s Church, Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. Based upon recurring feedback over the years combined with the absolute need to tighten the expense, we have introduced these modifications.
The exciting approach we will begin using to register attendance is designed to directly impact our parishes. We want this day to be an enriching and formative experience for the young adults in our communities who are already showing signs of leadership- our “Timothys”. As delegates from parishes, the young people who attend One Rock 2.0 will be inspired to return home, empowered to be protagonists in the New Evangelization.
In light of the vision our Bishop has set for intentional outreach to young adults in the diocese, soon to be followed upon by the October 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, now is the time to step up and do all in our power to support the future leaders of our Church. This will require challenging our parishioners to support the next generation — spiritually and materially.
I, along with our dedicated One Rock Steering Committee, have every confidence that this event, though smaller in scope, will be powerful in the intensity of its focus. Not only do we count on your support, but we very much look forward to working together to empower our modern young people to be the up and coming pillars of our parishes and local Church, boldly and strategically reaching into those peripheries with the transformative power of the Gospel.
At this time, here’s what we need you to do:
- Help us spread the word: tell everyone you know between the ages of 18-35 about One Rock 2.0
- Pre-register: have them pre-register at onerock.ca
- Stay updated: keep tabs with us on social media to be in the loop. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @onerockyyc
We’ve gathered an exciting lineup of speakers who will be joining us to make this a truly powerful and memorable experience for our young adults. Who do you know and hope will be at One Rock 2.0? Well, TELL THEM!
Fr. Cristino Bouvette
Director of Vocations
Interim Director of the Office of Youth Ministry