Letter to the faithful - Jan. 31

January 31, 2019

Español / Vietnamese

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

On Jan. 31 the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston joined with the other Catholic dioceses of Texas to publish the names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse or misconduct with minors since 1950. The list can be found on our Archdiocesan website.

The bishops of Texas decided to release the names of these priests because it is right and just and to offer healing and hope to those who have suffered. On behalf of all who have failed in this regard I offer my sincerest apology. Our Church has been lacerated by this wound and we must take action to heal it.

The crime of sexual abuse of minors is a grave crisis in the Church. These sins have done great harm to the victims of the abuse and have deeply wounded the body of Christ, the Church. Those victimized by clergy over the years need and deserve our prayers, outreach and support.

As Archbishop of this local Church I extend my deepest regret for the harm that has been done. In multiple incidents over the years, the Church and her ministers failed to protect the most vulnerable souls entrusted to our care. There is no excuse for the actions of those credibly accused of such sins against the human person.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is committed to transparency and accountability for the actions of its ministers. It is my sincere hope that the publication of the names of credibly accused clergy will be a step forward to healing for those who have suffered in the wake of such actions. We humbly pledge to accompany them on that journey to wholeness, and pray that God may bring them an awareness of His loving compassion.

It is my firm conviction that only the light of Christ can illuminate the path forward to such healing. I invite all the faithful of the Archdiocese to join me in seeking that light. All of our actions must be oriented toward the heart of the merciful and compassionate Savior.

There is a “Frequently Asked Questions” link on our website that further explains how the names were determined, how the review of the files was handled by an independent auditor, and other information about the list. We have done our best to make this report as accurate and complete as possible, but if anyone has additional information not contained herein I invite you to bring it to the attention our Victim Assistance Coordinator, Diane Vines, at 713-654-5799. If additional information is received the list will be updated as warranted. I urge anyone with knowledge of sexual abuse of minors to report it to the civil authorities immediately.

Since the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the “Dallas Charter”) was adopted in 2002, the number of credibly accused clergy reported cases has dropped significantly in Galveston-Houston and throughout our country. Our Safe Environment training, which is required for all clergy and lay volunteers in all of our parishes, schools and institutions, has helped us to be more vigilant and created awareness of the scourge of sexual abuse in our society.

Still, the only acceptable number is zero. The protection and safeguarding of children is our highest priority in this local Church and we look forward to partnering with all people of good will to see that such abuse is eliminated in our midst.

As sad as this day is for the Church, I am left with a spirit of gratitude for the courageous witness of the survivors of sexual abuse who have helped bring this painful history out of darkness into the light of Christ. I am grateful as well to the thousands of good and faithful priests who have served and continue to serve this local Church with honor over the years. I pray that God will strengthen them to be messengers of His mercy. And I am grateful for the faithful parishioners who desire to see the Church be made whole.

Even in darkness, our hope is in the Lord. We pray that God will remake us evermore in His image so that in the light of truth we may make Him known through our actions, words and deeds. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, who stood witness at Calvary, lead us to the heart of her Son and the promise of His resurrection to new life for all of God’s children.

With blessings in the Lord, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston