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Archdiocese Settles Abuse Suits
Apology Acknowledges
'Past Failings'

Oregonian Live
Wednesday, October 11, 2000

The following is the text of an apology, issued by Archbishop
John G. Vlazny, as part of the settlement of 23 sex abuse lawsuits
involving the Rev. Maurice Grammond, a Roman Catholic priest
who was suspended in 1991.

The letter is to be read Sunday at all parishes in the archdiocese,
a spokesman said.

Pope John Paul II has instructed us that "acknowledging the
weaknesses of the past is an act of honesty and courage which
helps us to strengthen our faith."

In keeping with that challenge, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese
of Portland in Oregon must now acknowledge some of its past
failings so that both the church and those who may have been
harmed by its failings, can begin to heal.

I again acknowledge that some of the priests of this diocese have
sexually molested children who were entrusted to the care of
the church. The abuse of children is a grave moral failing and
is contrary to all that the church stands for. With deep regret,
I further acknowledge that some people in the church community
did not believe bona fide reports of abuse and failed to recognize
the deep and lasting harm that child abuse causes.

These painful experiences remind us that there are times when
we must act rather than remain silent and passive, be caring
instead of indifferent and follow our conscience rather than
be controlled by fear. Otherwise, we may fail again to protect
God's precious gift of our children.

To any person who has suffered from abuse by any personnel
of the Archdiocese of Portland, and to their families, I express
my deep regret and ask for pardon and forgiveness.

I also honor those who have called these failings to our attention.
Your immense courage and the resilience of your spirit are a
blessing. We extend to you our gratitude and welcome you to
our spiritual home.

It is not enough, however, to express our remorse. I again pledge
that any person who discloses abuse by any personnel of the
archdiocese will receive a compassionate and pastoral response
from the church, consistent with clear explicit policies and
procedures. I pledge that we will open our hearts to their pain
and our ears to their cries. And I pledge that the safety of children
entrusted to our care and the healing of abuse survivors will
be important church priorities.

Copyright 2000 Oregon Live. All rights reserved.

Original Source:         oregonian/00/10/lc_41setsd11.frame

posted 07 Feb2001 15:00 (EST)

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