I write first of all to you who participated in the recent settlement with the Archdiocese. I also write to your spouses and to the members of your families. In addition, I include all survivors who as minors suffered sexual abuse perpetrated by any Church personnel.
Personally, and insofar as I can speak in the name of the entire Archdiocese, I express my profound sorrow for what you have endured. I apologize for what these priests did to you. What they did was heinous, awful, horrendous and cries to heaven for vengeance.
For you who shared in the settlement, it is my hope that this support may give you some sense of affirmation, justification and validation. You may not have been believed in the past. You may have felt alone and abandoned. You may need the help of counseling and therapy.
To your spouses and to other members of your families, I offer an assuarance of my sorrow, my prayers and my apology. Thank you for standing by the member of your family who was abused.
For all of you, I pray that the trust you had in God, if it has been weakened or destroyed, may be restored. I hope and pray that trust in a Church which has failed you may not be lost forever. If and when you are ready, we would be blessed by your return.
I stand ready to meet with you if you desire. I want you to know that I encourage all our parishes to include victims and survivors of sexual abuse in their prayers. We must all be compassionate and understanding and supportive.
My appreciation and gratitude extend to you for having the courage to come forward. You help all of us address the suffereing which sexual abuse brings. You help us recommit ourselves to the task of making the way safe for all God’s children in today’s churches, families and the world.
Please pray for me as I do for you.
Public Apology by Archdiocese of Dubuque
By Archbishop Jerome Hanus, OSB
Reprinted in the Telegraph Herald [Dubuque IA] February 22, 2006