|Friday, August 17 2018
My dear friends,
Like all of you, I am outraged and deeply saddened by recent news reports outlining past failures by the church and its leadership to protect against the abuse of children and young adults. While the recounting of these tragic actions can be disheartening and painful, it is important that we listen carefully and realize the ongoing consequences resulting from these past failures. We cannot move on without first recognizing the pain and suffering of so many of our brothers and sisters, caused not just by their abusers but by past church leadership which failed to recognize and take actions to protect our young people.
Since arriving as your bishop four years ago, I have had the somber task of meeting with victims of abuse and their family members. While I cannot undo the great harm done to them, I can promise victims, their loved ones and the entire community that I remain firmly committed to rooting out this evil in our midst. The failure by any member of the clergy, religious or laity to strictly implement, as well as adhere to, our policies and guidelines will result in removal from ministry.
I remain committed to these ongoing diocesan efforts as well as seeking ways to improve upon them so as to foster safe environments within our faith communities. This includes but is not limited to continuing to provide extensive and ongoing counseling services as well as other assistance to victims.
In addition, we have posted on our diocesan website, diospringfield.org information on recognizing and reporting abuse. I encourage anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse by any employee of the Roman Catholic Church to come forward by contacting Patricia Finn McManamy, LICSW, director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection, at (413)452-0624, by confidential toll-free number at (800)842-9055 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also recognize that for this to be truly effective, it must be a commitment undertaken at every level of our church’s leadership. As such, I add my voice to that of many other bishops, clergy, religious and laity – encouraging greater reforms and transparency on the part of the global church.
Finally, I ask the entire diocesan community to offer prayers for all victims of abuse and their loved ones and join me in promising them that we will take every effort to avoid any repeat of past failures.
+Mitchell T. Rozanski
Bishop of Springfield, MA