Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Abp. Listecki addresses Wauwatosa oversight, admits mistake

Everything we do is an effort to restore the trust and credibility that was so badly broken in 2002 as news reports highlighted the Church’s response to past abuse allegations. We want to restore that confidence so people truly know the Church has changed, not just by its words, but by its actions.

But trust is fragile. As hard as we work to build it, it can be shattered again in a moment, and with it, all the good work that has been accomplished can be dismissed as meaningless.

I’m afraid that’s what happened as news reports highlighted the situation in Wauwatosa, where a priest was allowed to remain in ministry as civil authorities from another state investigated an allegation from the 1970s, which was just recently brought forward. To complicate things, the priest is not a diocesan priest, but a member of the Salvatorians, and the allegation was initially brought forward by a third party, not the victim (now an adult), and the victim was not willing to cooperate with civil authorities, so no allegation had been substantiated.

But then a report about the same priest came from one of our schools, from a teacher, thankfully, who was following their Safe Environment training. Although charges were not brought by civil authorities, in looking at the complete picture of the priest’s history, we see a priest who was repeatedly warned about boundary issues. None of these behaviors were sexual abuse, but collectively they call into question allowing this priest to remain serving as pastor of two parishes, each with schools or daycare programs.

While our decisions followed the letter of the law in accordance with existing policies, I am not sure they followed the spirit of the law with regard to our pledge to be vigilant in keeping children safe. So, as I read the newspaper and reflected upon the comments some parishioners made to me, I could feel the Church’s credibility crumbling again.

So last night I acknowledged that we are called to place our imperfect lives before our God, asking that He continue the work of reconciliation in us. Our prayer for atonement is more than words. We are different people today and a different Church because of the acknowledgement of the sins and crimes committed by some.
I think they don't update these on the archdiocesan website until after the emails come out.  Once it's available I'll post a link. 

I think this is a good sign.  Men who never admit mistakes are the least credible people on the face of the Earth.  Credibility isn't earned by the deafening silence of the last forty years, it's earned by admitting mistakes when they are made.  I think that is what many who have lost trust are looking for, and that willingness to be held accountable not if, but when mistakes are made is actually a major plus to improving credibility. 

JS: Archbishop Jerome Listecki suggests church erred in Wauwatosa priest case


  1. I read through some of the comments on the JSonline article. Is there a place we can find out other instances of abuse compared to the catholic church (schools day care, scouts, etc...) for a comparison?

    1. Are you looking for something like this?

  2. I believe I would feel a bit more relieved if the Archbishop would stop having the disgraced homosexual Rembert Weakland perform functions in the diocese. If he wants to restore credibility. that might be one thing he could do.

    1. I think releasing the deposition could start that process. The problem is that Weakland has protection in Rome, hence the need for Curia reform there as well.

  3. Yes, good for Ab Listecki. This admission is better than the buck-passing we were getting between the Order and the diocesan spokesman up to this.

    As to Weakland, Aged parent, is he still performing any public functions in the diocese? I thought that ended after the protests from the Brookfield parish under Dolan?

    But the fault in this lies with Dolan. I know he tried to get him out of the diocese and into a Benedictine monastery out East, but he should have done with him what Ab. Gomez did with Cdl. Mahony and publicly declared him non grata for any diocesan function.

    And BC, it's not just in Rome that Mahony has support. Many of his 'white-haired boys' in the diocesan clergy still support him...

  4. I'm very much afraid that Archbishop Listecki, for all his charming qualities, does not have the spine to deal firmly with all these problems. He does not give one the impression of a man with a firm hand. And this situation requires a firm hand.

    The situation is not is dire. That means "no more Mr Nice Guy".

    The history of the Church is filled with Bishops who were weak and Bishops who were strong. It was the strong ones who restored the Church.

    And yes, GOR, I agree with you: Dolan was and is a serious problem. And, yes, Weakland is still allowed to administer the sacrament of Confirmation on occasion...which is a shocking scandal. He was also, preposterously, in attendance at both Dolan's and Listecki's Milwaukee installations.


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