Published November 10, 2020 | En Español
Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv., issued the following statement Nov. 10 upon release of the Vatican report on the investigation of now-disgraced former cardinal, Theodore McCarrick:
“The release of the report on the actions of Theodore McCarrick and the church leaders who enabled him through their action or inaction will surely reopen some deep and painful wounds. For this pain, I am truly sorry. These actions represent a real failing in our church. While the report reveals a chapter in our church history that many will find disheartening, it also represents a hopeful new chapter in how we function. No person in ministry, no matter their state of life or status, should be above the law of the church or the law of the land.
The abuse of any person is a sin, but the abuse of children is especially vile. While the church has done much since 2002 to prevent abuse and remove abusers from ministry, we must always remain vigilant, vocal and focused on the most vulnerable among us.
Here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, we have worked with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to include bishops and archbishops in our reporting process. This system, outlined in the Pope’s letter, Vos estis lux mundi (“You Are the Light of the World”), gives all the faithful a safe place to report misconduct of a bishop or archbishop. There are two ways to contact this service, an abuse hotline, 800-276-1562 or a website https://reportbishopabuse.org. Reports can be kept anonymous.
We are here to listen and take action. If you or someone you know has been abused by a member of the clergy or church personnel, we urge you to call our archdiocesan 24-hour Abuse Reporting Hotline, 1-888-437-0764. You should also report the abuse to local law enforcement.
The archdiocese continues to work in cooperation with the Georgia Attorney General, Christopher Carr, under a Memorandum of Understanding, engaging the state’s Prosecuting Attorneys Council to audit our clergy files. We have conducted our own thorough review of our files and have released a list of clergy credibly accused and continue to update it if needed. Our safe environment program includes extensive background checks and ongoing formation to prevent new cases of abuse. Our policies and procedures are posted to our archdiocesan website and we continue to strengthen our efforts to be transparent and accountable.
I ask you to join me in prayer for our church and for all those affected by the scourge of abuse in all its forms. I encourage parishes, prayer groups and individuals to offer a novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, for our church. The archdiocese will offer this novena every day at the end of our daily noon Mass from the Chancery starting Tuesday, Nov. 11. You can join here.
May those who are hurting find peace and healing and may those who work to prevent and heal the wounds of abuse find courage and strength.”