Saturday, May 25, 2024

Opinion | The Archdiocese of Baltimore promotes healing and transparency

Opinion | The Archdiocese of Baltimore promotes healing and transparency

Regarding the Jan. 21 editorial “Perpetuating secrecy”:

The Archdiocese of Baltimore was involved in the gravest of betrayals for its historic failure to protect children from sexual predators and for the sinister and cowardly decisions of some individuals to cover their tracks. As long as I am the archbishop of Baltimore, the church will continue to apologize for the pain inflicted and to assist those in the lifelong process of healing.

Scrutiny of our past is warranted. When the objective is to protect a child, half-measures are not acceptable.

The church has no interest in concealing the identity of predators. The names of those credibly accused are publicly available. The church cooperates with police investigations and the attorney general, and has an independent review board as well as an office of Child and Youth Protection. For more than two decades, the archdiocese has reported every allegation of abuse to the state attorney general’s office by certified mail.

Transparency is the cornerstone of the culture change and the standard of accountability ushered in over the last generation.

The church’s reform is being undermined by speculation related to the archdiocese’s motivation for using insurance funds to pay the legal fees for individuals named in the report. Because these individuals are not accused of abuse, and because the attorney general’s office did not give them an opportunity to respond to the report, I made the decision to guarantee they had a voice in the court proceedings. To me, this was a matter of fundamental fairness.

The evil carried out by abusive priests is despicable and reprehensible. The church cannot run from or hide this truth, nor does the Archdiocese of Baltimore wish to do so.

William E. Lori, Baltimore

The writer is the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore.

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